TENNIS INJURIES AND HOW TO MAINTAIN JOINT HEALTH

High-intensity sports like tennis involves running, jumping, extension and coordination, which makes it imperative for players to pay attention to the care and protection of their joints.

It affects the upper and lower body distinctly. For your lower body, the game involves pivoting, jumping, sprinting, lunging and in order to do this, your knee must flex and extend while ankles roll and twist to expedite the serve. On the other hand, your upper body joints are performing repetitive, high impact hits may leave shoulders, elbows, wrists liable to strain and tearing.

The connectors in your body between your muscles and bones are known as tendons, they have a smaller blood supply than muscles due to which they often become overstressed in athletes. Omega-3 is known to heal and protect tendons and avoid injuries like Tendonitis.

Major upper and lower body muscles involved are as follows

(according to Howard, 2013) :-

  • Calves (Gastrocnemius and Soleus Muscles)
  • Upper Legs (Hamstrings and Thighs)
  • Butt (Gluteus Maximus and Medius)
  • Abdominal, Obliques, Latissimus Dorsi and Erector Spinae
  • Chest (Pectorals) Shoulder (Deltoids and Rotator Cuff Muscles)
  • Upper back (Rhomboid and Trapezius Muscles)
  • Upper Arms (Biceps, Triceps)
  • Forearms (Flexor and Extensor)
  • Basically almost every muscle in your body is engaged.

Common types of the upper limb and lower limb injuries:-

 

1) Ankle Sprain:-

This injury is caused by landing on the outside of the foot, with the foot turning too far inwards. Although, depending upon the severity, the ligaments may be torn or overstretched which leads to pain and swelling around the ankles. 

2) Calf Muscle or Hamstring stress/Rupture:-

It is a typical tennis injury that often occurs in players of 35 to 50 age group. This occurs due to a sudden contraction of the calf muscles, for instance during a sprint. Its symptoms are a sharp pain in the leg.

3) Stress fractures:-

High stress on the feet in tennis can lead to fractures of metatarsal bones of the foot or lumbar vertebrae in the back.

Stress fractures in the foot: Crack in the foot indicated by pain, swelling, and tenderness.

Back stress fractures:-Due to repetitive pressure on the lumbar region of the spine eventually causes the bone to crack.                     

4) Achilles tendon injuries:

It is generally a result of a tight calf muscle and an injury resulting in tendinitis (inflammation of the tendon) or rupture, which generally requires surgery to repair.

5) Knee injuries:

As with the ankles, the rapid direction-change and pace of tennis can put a strain on the knee.

This may lead to injuries in the tendon and cartilage such as patella tendonitis and meniscus cartilage tear.

6) Rotator cuff Tendonitis:

The rotator cuff is the sheath of tendons and ligaments that supports the arm at the shoulder joint.

Indicated by inflammation of tendons

7) Impingement syndrome:-

In this the bones linked to the rotator cuff tendonitis and rotator cuff tendons becomes trapped.

Indicated by pain when trying to raise the arm above the head.

8) Carpal tunnel syndrome:

The wrist comes under a lot of strain because of repetitive motion, this can lead to inflammation and damage all the small nerves and tendons in the wrist.

Occurs when a medial nerve in the carpal tunnel is compressed, leading to a tingly or numb feeling in the fingers.

Affect grip and movement of tennis

9) Tennis elbow: It occurs due to constant strain on elbow joint, caused by overuse of tendons.

The muscle surrounding the joint leading to tendon inflammation in the elbow.

So, the basic treatment for the above-mentioned injuries includes:-

  • Rest, ice, compression and elevation (RICE)
  • Anti-inflammatory supplements/medications as per doctor’s suggestion.

The good nutrition profile of the body plays a crucial role in order to maintain the overall muscle synthesis and repair for joint health. Also, nutrition helps to meet the extra demand of macronutrients of athletes to improve their performance during the prolonged duration. Apart from a balanced diet, supplements play a great role in bridging the gap between their dietary needs and recommended daily allowance. Additionally, Vitamin D, Fish Oil and Collagen are important for muscle and joint health.

Role of Vitamin D3 for muscle & bone health

Outdoor athletes play under the Sun, which is the most abundant source of Vitamin D3. But under certain conditions, malabsorption problems, certain medical condition, dark-skinned athletes have melanin pigment deposited in high levels which inhibits the absorption.

As per Angeline, M., et al.(2013) Vitamin D3, cholecalciferol is known for better absorption of calcium maintaining bone and joint health. Additionally, it regulates the intracellular accumulation of phosphate within the muscle cells, and this helps to maintain muscle function and metabolism. It also exerts its effects through various cellular signalling cascades, one of which is the mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) signalling pathway. Once activated, this pathway initiates muscle synthesis, cell proliferation, and differentiation in muscle tissue.

Role of Collagen in Muscle & Bone Health.

Collagen is the major component of connective tissues that helps make up tendons, ligaments, muscles and skin.

In the human body, type I collagen is the most abundant protein present in almost every type of tissue. Consumption of collagen peptides in the form of supplements   supplies the body with amino acids needed as building blocks to renew tissues such as skin, bones and joints. They are known to reduce inflammation and joint pain while increases muscle mass.

Role of Omega-3 fatty Acids in Athletes Performance

Omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) play a potential role in enhancing the physical performance.

According to a study done by Mickleborough, D. (2013)  endurance activity, as high-intensity energy demands induce an increase in by-products and free-radical production. The anti-inflammatory property of these fatty acids manifests through increased production of antioxidants, therefore decreasing the production of prostaglandins metabolites, responsible to increase inflammation. They are also effective in reducing muscle pain post performance and on reducing the severity of bronchoconstriction induced by exercise, as well as improving pulmonary function variables.

It has been suggested that basically  EPA and DHA  type of omega-3 fatty acids found in fish oil are beneficial in counteracting exercise-induced inflammation and for the overall health of an athlete.

The ratio of EPA to DHA of 2:1 works best. Additionally, have been shown to decrease the production of inflammatory eicosanoids, cytokines and have immunomodulatory effects. Although, many studies have assessed the efficacy of omega-3 PUFA supplementation on red blood cell deformability, muscle damage, inflammation, and metabolism during exercise.

In conclusion, it is a must to maintain your muscle and bone health to avoid chances of having injuries. Therefore, supplements like Steadfast Nutrition Vit D3, Fish oil, Collastead are beneficial for the same.

References:-

  • Cannell .J., et al.(2009)Athletic Performance and Vitamin D.Med Sci Sports Exerc.41(5),1102-10
  • Angeline, M., et al, (2013). (The Effects of Vitamin D Deficiency in Athletes. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 41(2) DOI: 10.1177/0363546513475787
  • Mickleborough ., T. (2013).Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Physical Performance Optimization. International Journal of Sports Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism, 23, 83-96

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