Get a grip on your racket options

Rackets are one of the most common pieces of sports equipment that is used in a great variety of sports. Rackets seem very simple – structured as a handling frame with an open hoop, but can be very tricky to learn to finesse. Across the hoop frame (the shape of the hoop depends upon the kind of game) a network of chord is stretched to give a rebounding effect. The type of materials used will greatly affect that rebound effect and power.

Racket sports are very popular across the globe. For almost every game the purpose of the racket is the same. The racket is used against the ball (to hit it back to the opponent).

Rackets are used in recreational as well as professional sports like squash, lawn tennis, racquetball, lot-ball and badminton. Collectively these games are known as racket sports. Ideally, for many sports, the frame of the racket is made of wood or aluminum and the strings are made up of catgut. A wood frame racket is best suited for lawn tennis, and squash. Other racquets are made of different synthetic materials like carbon fiber, ceramics and other alloys (that provides extra strength and lightness).

Rackets are also used in both indoor and outdoor games. Racquetball is an indoor game played with a racquet and a hollow rubber ball. The racquetball court is an enclosed room (open with two sides) where floor, walls and ceiling acts as rebound zones. Racquetball is very popular at health clubs and athletic clubs and is an excellent way to get and stay fit.

Choosing a racket plays an important role in playing the racket sports. You should keep some vital aspects into consideration before choosing a racket.

Tennis rackets are the most popular rackets sold in the US and in Europe. Choosing the correct tennis racket for your size and skill is important to prevent pain and injury and develop an effective swing.

When selecting a tennis racket or other racket equipment, you’ll want to observe the following:

Grip: If you select a racket grip that is too small, there are chances of you getting injured (wrist and elbow injuries). A racket grip that is too large for you will put extra tension on your arms and the balance will be disrupted. Selection of the grip has to be proportionate to your hands and wrist size.

Head size (in lawn tennis): Starting from 60 square inches (in wooden frame) the head size can go up to 145 square inches (synthetic and alloy frames). The head size of the tennis racket determines the extent of power of the racket.

Weight and balance: Different sports rackets, esp. tennis rackets, have different weight and balance. A tennis racket is heavier than a badminton racket. You should select the racket according to the ball that is to be hit with it and the comfort that you experience. Heavier rackets are more powerful than the lighter ones but every sportsperson is not able to balance the heavy rackets.

The five most common sports injuries

Sports has always been a top-drawer not only for its excitement but also for its numerous health benefits. These sports activities, however, can also bring risks to one’s health. Those who engage in contact sports like basketball, football, and the martial arts are usually at high risk of sustaining injuries. These injuries are usually found on the knees, legs, ankles, and feet — all of which support the entire weight of the athlete’s body.

Acute damage or repetitive stress associated with sports activities may affect the bones, ligaments, muscles, and tendons. Acute sports injuries can be treated with first aid remedies and over the counter muscle relaxants. Chronic injuries, on the other hand, may require medical assistance. Understanding these injuries is essential in preventing its development and avoiding any hindrances to one’s health.

Here are the five most common sports injuries and how to prevent them:

1.Ankle Sprains and Strains
Sprain is the stretching or tearing of the ligaments while strain is the stretching or tearing of muscles or tendons. Ankle sprains or strains may occur because of poor technique, uneven terrain, and wearing inaapropriate footwear. Running on smooth and even terrain, running in proper form, and wearing the right foot wear is essential in preventing injury. Wearing orthotic gear may add more stability and balance and prevent re-injury.

2.Shoulder Injury
The shoulder is one of the most flexible joints in the body. Because of its flexibility, the shoulder is essential in many sports activities. Individuals who engage in sports that involve frequent swinging of arms like swimming or basketball are at high risk of developing this injury. Pitchers, tennis players, weightlifters are some of the individuals who may be prone to shoulder injuries.

3.Elbow pain
Lateral epicondylitis also called tennis elbow pain and is one form of overuse injury. It is an inflammation of several structures of the elbow which includes the muscles, tendons, ligaments and many more. People that engage in activities with strenuous or repetitive forearm movement forearm movement have heightened risk of developing this injury. Occupations that include mechanics or carpentry may also pose risks for certain individuals.

4.Knee Pain
Sports related knee pain may be a result of ruptured ligament or torn muscles. Because it is the largest joint in the body, it is one of the most easily damaged joint. An anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear is one of the most common problem the involves the knee. Medical studies show that many ACL injuries are caused by sports activities that require frequent change in direction, twisting, slowing down when running, or landing from a jump. Individuals who play football, soccer, wrestling, and rugby are prone to this kind of injury. Proper execution of techniques, wearing orthotics, and training in moderation may help prevent the development of this condition.

5.Lower back pain
Many backaches are caused by strains or sprains in the muscles or ligaments. These injuries often occur because of heavy lifting or twisting. Back spasms caused by disk, joint, or muscle injuries may also lead to the development of excruciating pain. In addition to these factors, improper posture, fatigue, and improper alignment may also lead to the development of back pain.

These five common injuries can be prevented by engaging in proper training which includes warm ups, stretches, and cool downs. Warming up and stretching are essential in preparing the body for strenuous activity that can be experienced in training. Cooling down, on the other hand, is essential in reducing the temperature of the muscles and reduce muscle injury, stiffness, and soreness. Using orthotics is also essential in preventing sports injuries. Engaging in proper exercise routines and executing exercise techniques are essential to prevent injuries. Individuals who want to engage in physical exercise and other strenuous activities should seek the approval of doctors to achieve health goals and avoid fitness obstacles.

Common tennis injuries

There are several things that you need to be well aware of as you consider how you are playing tennis. The body is susceptible to so many different potential injuries in the process of playing tennis that it is very important to be careful about how you play so that you can avoid as many injuries as possible. Yet even the most careful player will likely have an injury at some point in time. Learning to avoid most injuries and also learning which are most common will give you the advantage in a fast treatment, which will ultimately lead to a quick healing process. Of course true to the name tennis elbow tends to be a very common injury. This is an injury that occurs to the upper arm on the inside close to the elbow itself. This tends to create problems with the way that you use your arm overall and if you are not careful you can badly injure your arm even further. The best prevention for tennis elbow is some rest as well as ensure that you are stretching thoroughly both before and after any time that you play. Even if you are only playing for a short period of time while you practice a good stretch is still useful to avoid injury. Another highly common problem is tendinitis. There are several different types that tend to strike at tennis players and they include shoulder tendinitis, rotator cuff tendinitis, achilles tendinitis and even wrist tendinitis. Tendinitis itself is defined as inflammation of the tendons. This means that for each area where tendinitis can occur for a tennis player that the tendons have become inflamed, irritated or even swollen. The exact amount of time it takes for tendinitis to heal generally varies greatly but it can be anywhere from a couple of days to several weeks. Another highly common problem is osteoarthritis that occurs in the knee. Because of the huge amount of impact that occurs to the knees it is very important to ensure that they are as strong as possible as well as the shoes that you wearing are very strong. If you wear shoes without proper cushioning and do not take good care of your knees then you are at a much higher risk for osteoarthritis. The biggest thing that you need to always keep in mind is that most tennis injuries are either acute or cumulative. This means that either they occur over time due to being over used or they occur suddenly due to trauma. Regardless of the exact type of injury, taking the precautions necessary to ensure that you are wearing the appropriate safety equipment will go a very long way to ensure that you avoid as many injuries as possible. It is also a wise idea to look into finding a good sports medicine doctor that you can work with in the event that you get an acute injury such as a torn rotator cuff, shoulder separation or even an achilles tendon rupture. Taking proper care of injuries quickly is very important so knowing exactly who you will see if an injury occurs, is a very wise decision to have worked out that will help you ensure that you stay as safe and healthy as possible no matter how long you play tennis.

Tips to avoid tennis elbow

If you have ever heard anyone talk about tennis elbow then you surely know that it is not a pleasant situation. It can be rather painful and it is quite possible to do a lot of work to help prevent the injury. However, if you do not treat your body nicely you are putting yourself at a much greater risk for the injury as well as others. This is something that you should work hard to avoid, after all tennis elbow can cause serious pain that is not just whisked away with a heating pad.

You are first going to want to focus on prevention and in this spirit; it means that you need to ensure that you are getting the rest you need between playing. This means there is no reason that you should go out and play a 4-hour tournament then turn around and practice for another 2 hours. No matter what you think, this is not a wise idea. Rather a better idea would be taking the day off after you have finished the tournament so that you can give your arm the rest that it needs.

Take some time to get into good physical shape. This includes ensuring that you strengthen your arms and back. If you ensure that your arms and back are in good physical condition you will have the muscle strength built up that will help you to prevent the injury. However, failing to make sure you are in good physical condition can make you exceptionally vulnerable to problems. If you have problems with getting into good muscular shape, you should talk to your instructor or coach if you have one. If you do not then turn to the internet to help you develop a good exercise routine that will effectively allow you to strengthen these essential muscles.

For those who do not play tennis for hours a day it is important to pace yourself. This means no playing for four weeks does not give you the right to run out and play for 4 hours straight suddenly. You should play for much shorter periods after you have had a long period of time away from the court. Your arm is abused in the process of playing tennis and suddenly jumping in with both feet will put you at risk of wearing it out badly. Instead, play much easier on your body and work to get back to the game that you prefer to play. Remember, pushing yourself to achieve the results that you want may seem like a great idea, but pushing too hard will leave you with an injury.

Always stretch before you start playing a game or even practice. In addition, you should stretch after you are done playing as well. This will allow you to keep the muscles surrounding the tendon as supple as possible. Often tense muscles can help factor into a tendon injury and will have you in pain quite quickly if you forget to stretch one day. A few minutes of stretching can go a very long way towards keeping you in good shape and injury free.

The last major consideration that you should take into account is you need to avoid continuously repetitive movements that drag on forever. If you are practicing a swing or a serve then that is wonderful but at the same time, you need to ensure that you stop on occasion to take a break. This will be quite helpful in working with you to avoid injury. If you are overworking your muscles without a break, you are putting yourself heavily at risk of an injury and you are not likely to enjoy the results. Taking care of your body is the primary thing that you need to be concerned with, not trying to stress over practicing your serve for another two hours straight. The time you spend on the court will be much more effective with a few small breaks sprinkled into the day.

Tennis elbow: diagnosis, treatment and prevention

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Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a common elbow injury of racket sport players and manual laborers. Tennis elbow is an overuse injury resulting from the performance of repetitive motions with the hand and forearm, such as swinging a tennis racket or a hammer. Such repetitive motions can cause inflammation of the muscles of the forearm. The symptoms of tennis elbow include pain, soreness, and weakness in the muscles on the outside of the forearm. The treatment of tennis elbow is usually conservative, relying on rest, ice, and anti-inflammatory medication.

When attempting to diagnosis tennis elbow, a doctor or physical therapist will test for tenderness on or near the bony knob of the elbow joint. Pain that increases when bending the wrist back is also indicative of tennis elbow. Tennis elbow related pain also increases when gripping. Thus, shaking hands may be painful. Finally, a perception of weakness or chronic muscle fatigue in the forearm muscles is an indicator of tennis elbow.

Treatment for tennis elbow is usually conservative and passive. Most importantly, people with tennis elbow should avoid the activities that cause forearm pain (e.g., playing tennis) until the injury heals. Rest will often correct tennis elbow in a matter of weeks. In addition, the use of ice and anti-inflammatory medications can ease pain and promote healing. Physical therapy and heat therapy may also hasten the healing process. Finally, upon returning to regular activity, wearing an elbow and forearm brace can prevent recurrence of tennis elbow. Elbow braces, available at drug stores, help prevent tennis elbow by restricting movement and use of the elbow.

Because treatment of tennis elbow and recovery from tennis elbow can be a long, frustrating process, prevention is the best strategy. For tennis players, several equipment adjustments can help prevent tennis elbow. Players should select a racket with a midsized racket head (90 – 105 square inches) and high flexibility (stiffness index lower than 65). Additionally, players should string their rackets with soft strings such as synthetic nylon or natural gut at the low end of the recommended tension range. Finally, to prevent tennis elbow, players should ensure that the grip of their racket is neither too large nor too small.

Besides equipment adjustments, tennis players (and others) attempting to prevent tennis elbow can follow several guidelines related to physical activity. First, strengthening the muscles of the hand, wrist, and forearm is perhaps the best way to prevent tennis elbow. Strengthening these muscles helps reduce strain on the elbow itself. Appropriate and effective wrist and forearm exercises include wrist curls and extensions (with very light weights), squeezing a tennis ball in the palm of the hand, and placing a rubber band around the fingers and extending the fingers. In addition to strengthening exercises, it is important that tennis players consult a tennis professional to ensure that their strokes are efficient, correct, and are not placing undue strain on the elbow.

In conclusion, while tennis elbow is a potentially debilitating injury, taking appropriate preventative measures and consulting knowledgeable professionals can help limit the negative effects of tennis elbow.

Tennis elbow injuries rehabilitation

Tennis Elbow Injury Rehabilitation

What do I need to do?

How do I do it?

When should I do it?

How long is the rehabilitation for my tennis elbow going to take? The answer to the last question is – As long as it takes!!

The first thing to remember is that Tennis Elbow becomes a chronic problem if it isn’t looked after properly.

In terms of tennis elbow rehabilitation, there is one absolute rule. You must do nothing until you are experiencing little or no pain, and then the rehabilitation process, and exercises can only proceed providing you have no pain in whatever exercise you are doing.

Before you can start playing tennis properly again you must have restored full strength and mobility to your elbow.

There are three different phases to your tennis elbow rehabilitation, and they can be summarized as follows.

The first phase is to reduce inflammation and pain. You need to do two things here, and the first is to begin the healing process whilst also preventing the associated muscles from wasting.

The process here has four distinct parts.

Rest which means avoiding overusing the injury. You must continue to use the muscles to ensure they don’t waste, and a good blood supply is maintained. The activity must not be painful, if it hurts don’t do it!!

Use Ice all the time until you return to full use, as it lessens inflammation.

Use compression and elevation as it helps the blood supply and also reduces swelling.

In the second phase of tennis elbow rehabilitation, exercise comes into play. It is important to increase your elbow strength, and endurance. You need to get the elbow to function again properly.

This flexibility is achieved primarily by extending the elbow gently without flexing it, and holding the extended position for up to 30 seconds, but NOT to the point of pain, and doing this perhaps twenty times a day.

To strengthen the elbow, sit with your elbow on your knee, and with a weight not exceeding 1 lb. In your hand, and palm downwards flex your wrist up and down slowly. Note that the elbow shouldn’t move at all. Do exactly the same thing with your palm facing upwards.

Another useful exercise is to use a tennis ball, and squeeze it in your hand, and keep doing this. Remember that there should be no pain.

You should gradually increase the weight as your strength grows, and always use an ice pack afterwards.

The third phase is where you gradually return to playing whilst maintaining and increasing the second phase.

In terms of playing you shouldn’t start until your symptoms are gone, but what you can do in combination with flexibility exercises is to just hit gentle forehands in succession and repeat this with backhands and lobs. If you start with fifteen minute sessions, and increase it to an hour, and you get no pain, then you can start to serve, and then return to competitive tennis.
Remember that in Tennis Elbow Rehabilitation there is no gain with pain!!

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