Bouncing Back From Shoulder Tennis Injuries

Despite recent recoveries from shoulder injuries, a couple of women’s pro tennis players served up enough force and finesse to win two matches each at this year’s Miami Open.

After struggling with shoulder issues for eight months, Ajla Tomljanovic, of Croatia, had shoulder surgery in March 2016. She worked hard to recover and get back to her game, returning just last month to tournament play.  Sorana Cirstea, of Romania, suffered a complicated shoulder injury in 2015. As a result, she had to change her service motion to keep it from being hurt again. And since last fall, former world No. 1 Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic have had to take breaks from the courts at times to rest an inflamed and painful shoulder.

(VIDEO: The Baptist Health South Florida News Team hears from Harlan Selesnick, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute, about treating shoulder injuries, like the ones that often plague professional tennis players. Video by Steve Pipho)


“At the elite level, tennis players are loose jointed, so that puts more pressure on soft-tissue structures,” said Harlan Selesnick, M.D., orthopedic surgeon at Miami Orthopedics & Sports Medicine Institute. “When you add to that the overuse component of constant practice, it makes them more at risk for shoulder injuries.”  Dr. Selesnick joins fellow Institute physicians, physical therapists and other Baptist Health South Florida caregivers who provide medical services to Miami Open tournament players.

Dr. Selesnick says the most common shoulder injuries with tennis are problems with the rotator cuff, a group of muscles and tendons that cover the shoulder bone. When strained or overused, the tendons and near cartilage can become irritated and sometimes tear. More than 4 million people a year visit the doctor for a problem with a rotator cuff, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.

In addition to tennis, other athletic activities that involve a lot of repetitive overhead motion, like throwing in baseball and football, swimming and lifting weights, can also cause shoulder injuries.

The Baptist Health News Team joined Dr. Selesnick court-side at the Miami Open to learn more about the symptoms of and treatments for shoulder injuries. Watch the video now.

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