tennis racket

Our DC Metro Physical Therapists Provide Tennis-Specific PT for Shoulder Injury Rehab and Prevention

Tennis is a dynamic sport that provides a fantastic whole-body workout. Though it’s considered a relatively low-impact exercise overall, tennis demands explosive serves, strokes, and returns, making it a high-impact activity for the arms. In contrast to lower-extremity tennis sports injuries, which are often acute, upper-extremity injuries are typically chronic, resulting from overuse and repetitive motions. Shoulder injuries are particularly prevalent among tennis players and other overhead-throwing and striking athletes. 

Whether you’re seeking to rehab a current tennis-related shoulder injury or correct weaknesses or imbalances that could increase your risk of future injuries, you’ve come to the right place. Discover what SPARK Physiotherapy Tennis PT could do for your game.

When rotator cuff strains, impingement, or other shoulder injuries threaten to keep you off the tennis court, turn to SPARK Physiotherapy for effective, sport-specific rehabilitation and injury prevention strategies. Our licensed and certified Alexandria, Virginia, sports fitness physical therapists offer comprehensive tennis physical therapy and personal training with personalized private sessions designed to help you recover from shoulder injuries, return to play, and reach peak performance.

Exploring Tennis-Related Shoulder Injuries

Repetitive movements like racket swings and absorbing the impact each time you hit the ball can put your shoulders at risk for wide-ranging tennis injuries such as:

  • Bursitis. Pain, swelling, and tenderness resulting from irritation and inflammation of the bursae, fluid-filled sacs that reduce friction and cushion the bones and soft tissues in the shoulder.
  • Shoulder impingement. Inflammation or entrapment of the rotator cuff tendons that causes tenderness, pain, and reduced mobility when lifting the arm overhead or reaching backward.
  • Rotator cuff tears. Pain, weakness, and restricted range of motion resulting from partial or complete tears of any of the four rotator cuff muscles responsible for stabilizing the shoulder 
  • SLAP lesions. Shoulder pain and range-of-motion issues caused by a tear of the labral cartilage starting at the top of the glenoid labrum and extending to the chest and back.
  • Acromioclavicular (ACJ) pain. Inflammation of the joint between the collar bone (clavicle) and a part of the shoulder blade called the acromion, resulting in tenderness, radiating pain, swelling, and restricted mobility.

Creating Your Customized Tennis PT Training Plan

SPARK Physiotherapy’s Tennis PT program meets you where you are, making it suitable for players of all abilities and fitness levels. Before you start training, your experienced sports fitness physical therapist conducts a thorough biomechanical assessment. Evaluating the way you move helps our specialists identify weaknesses or imbalances that increase your risk of shoulder injuries and prevent you from reaching your full potential.

A training plan that targets your shoulders could incorporate any of the following exercises:

  • Shoulder extensions. Stand or sit with your arms at your sides. Keeping your arms straight, slowly lift them backward as far as comfortable without bending your elbows, then return to the starting position.
  • T-rows. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart and bend slightly at the hips, keeping your back straight. Holding a dumbbell in each hand, extend your arms down, then lift them out to the sides, forming a "T" shape with your body. Squeeze your shoulder blades together before lowering the weights back to the starting position.
  • Shoulder internal and external rotations. Stand with your elbow bent at a 90-degree angle and held close to your side, holding a resistance band or light dumbbell. Rotate your forearm toward your stomach while keeping your elbow stationary. For external rotations, start with the same position, but rotate your forearm away from your body, maintaining the elbow's position throughout the movement.
  • Sleeper’s stretch. Lie on your side with your bottom arm extended in front of you, and bend your elbow to a 90-degree angle. Use your top hand to gently press your bottom forearm toward the floor, stretching the shoulder.
  • Chest stretch. Stand in a doorway and place your forearms on either side of the door frame with your elbows at a 90-degree angle. Gently lean forward until you feel a stretch across your chest and shoulders.
  • Rotator cuff stretch. Hold one arm across your chest and use your opposite hand to gently press the upper arm towards your body. Hold the stretch for 15-30 seconds, feeling a gentle stretch in your shoulder.

Our Tennis PT experts collaborate with you to create a highly individualized rehabilitation and training routine that addresses identified issues and aligns with your abilities, athletic goals, and lifestyle.