From Baptist Health South Florida
2 min. read
The top tennis players who competed at the Miami Open at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens are well trained, but matches can last for two hours or longer, and that can take quite a toll on their bodies, explains John Uribe, M.D., orthopedic surgeon, Miami Open tournament physician and chief medical executive at Baptist Health Orthopedic Care.
Once again, Baptist Health was the official healthcare provider for the Miami Open, with its physicians monitoring the players for potential strains, sprains or injuries — usually affecting the shoulders, elbows or knees.
(Watch video: Hear from John Uribe, M.D., orthopedic surgeon, Miami Open tournament physician and chief medical executive at Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute. Video by Steve Pipho.)
“The professional athletes are the highest level of human performance,” says Dr. Uribe. “But this requires a tremendous amount of — not just hand, eye coordination and speed — but basically uses everything in the body that is so important. There’s no question they do the stretching and all, but some of these matches that can go hours and hours take quite a toll. The body can just stand up to so much.”
When players served at the Miami Open or swing a forehand or backhand with the racket, they are putting a significant amount of pressure on the muscles that comprise the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff, a group of four muscles that come together as tendons, is just one common source of injuries, explains Dr. Uribe. He says it’s good to see the players warm up before a match — a key practice that helps prevent some strains and injuries.
“Like with any sport … it’s better to warm up, whether they’re just start hitting around the rack on the court, jogging around the court a little bit, just get the core temperature up and then do their stretches,” said Dr. Uribe. “And then the muscles will tend to be much more malleable and they’ll adapt to it much quicker than just a cold stretch.”
The most common injuries among professional tennis players include shoulder overuse injuries that can be due to poor conditioning; stress fractures from training too rapidly; muscle strains that can occur from quick and sudden moves, and various degrees of strains or worse to the knees, Achilles’ tendon and ankles.
And then there’s the widely known issue among players at every level that can develop over time: “tennis elbow.” That condition involves inflammation or minor tearing of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow. It is also the muscle most used when the tennis ball impacts the racquet.
“Some of the typical injuries that we see are more overuse type injuries, such as a tendonitis, and that can start anywhere,” explains Dr. Uribe. “The rotator cuff of the shoulder, the elbow tendons, tower tendon in the knee, the quadriceps tendon in the knee, the Achilles tendon — all those tendons take quite a hit in tennis.”
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