How Occupational Therapy Can Help Tennis and Pickleball Players Resolve Arm Pain

How Occupational Therapy Can Help Tennis and Pickleball Players Resolve Arm Pain

How Occupational Therapy Can Help Tennis and Pickleball Players Resolve Arm Pain

Have you noticed pain with your overhead tennis serves? Are you concerned with the tightness in your elbow after a long pickleball match? At Maximum Rehabilitation Services, our occupational therapists help tennis players of all ages and abilities alleviate pain, recover lost motion, and get stronger to hit that ball without limitations!

Arm pain is widespread and can be a significant struggle for tennis and pickleball enthusiasts of all ages and skill levels. Some studies suggest over 50% of middle-aged players have shoulder pain and the most common injuries to the shoulder and wrist in Pickleball are due to falling on an outstretched arm.

In both sports, the most common cause of pain is linked to overuse injuries due to repetitive stress and improper technique. The most common site of pain is the muscles around the shoulder (i.e., rotator cuff muscle), elbow, and forearm. For some players, the pain and injury started after falling on an outstretched arm resulting in subsequent pain and/or dysfunction.

Fortunately, our occupational therapy team can help you optimize your rehab and create effective movement patterns or adjustments to your equipment that allow you to perform at your highest level while minimizing the risk of future pain and injury.

At Maximum Rehabilitation Services, we will assess your whole body to identify deficits that can lead to overuse injuries and impaired performance. Once we determine your needs, we will develop a plan to help you resolve your limitations and return to the courts!

Request an appointment today with one of our specialists!

How tennis and Pickleball can cause pain throughout the arm

Tennis is one of the most popular sports worldwide. It is often considered a lifetime sport because it is accessible to people of all ages and abilities. Like all sports, tennis comes with the potential for pain and/or injury. Unfortunately, tennis players often wait for treatment when a new symptom starts.

Too often, people wait, trying to distinguish between “normal” soreness after the exertion of a tennis match and pain associated with an actual injury. Prolonged tennis matches can lead to muscle fatigue resulting in changes to how the shoulder blade and the shoulder move (i.e., the mechanics).

These changes often lead to the overuse type of injuries most prevalent in tennis players. In addition, changes to your form can influence the elbow and wrist muscles leading to pain and dysfunction that affects your ability to perform at the level you’re accustomed to.

Faulty and/or abnormal positions and movement of the shoulder blade (scapula dyskinesis) often result in a limitation of overall mobility, which alters the function of the shoulder. These imbalances put additional strain on the rotator cuff muscles and leave the shoulder vulnerable to injuries to the joints and tissues around the joints.

When functioning correctly, the shoulder complex can maximize efficiency and force generation while minimizing the risk of injury. When a part of the system isn’t working correctly, pain and injury are likely the results.

Falling while playing Pickleball is a fairly common event. Typically, someone loses balance and trips while trying to get to a ball just outside their reach. For some, it is trying to backpedal to reach an overhead ball, while others try changing directions to get that backhand shot.

Two of the most common injuries associated with Pickleball are a fractured wrist and a torn rotator cuff muscle. Both injuries occur from falling on an outstretched arm/hand. As we get older, our bodies cannot react the same as when we are younger, and we cannot tolerate the impact either.

Fortunately, at Maximum Rehabilitation Services, our therapists excel at piecing together the factors contributing to your pain and/or injury. We examine the whole person and assess individual parts and how they interrelate with the rest of the arm.

We will look at how the shoulder’s weaknesses or restrictions may affect your overall function and give you the tools to resolve them.

What to expect at your Maximum Rehabilitation Services sessions

We will conduct a comprehensive evaluation that includes a thorough history and movement assessment of the shoulder, shoulder blade, elbow, and wrist function. Our assessments will also identify any limitation related to the fitting of your racquet.

In addition, we will test your strength, coordination, and how your joints in the arm work together in different positions related to a typical tennis match. This information will help determine any weaknesses and/or compensations that may impair your ability to swing the racquet correctly.

Next, your occupational therapist will design a program tailored to your personal goals. Our programs initially emphasize pain relief and restoring the mobility of the shoulder complex. We will shift to targeted stretches, strengthening, and adaptations to your equipment to resolve your injury and improve overall performance.

We will use any technique, including Kinesio Taping, bracing, and manual techniques, to assist your rehabilitation and education of proper movement sequencing. Our team will show you the appropriate way to hit the ball pain-free!

Request an appointment today!

Our occupational therapists are highly skilled at treating tennis and pickleball players of all ages and abilities. No matter what is causing your arm pain, we offer the results you are looking for!

Call today to schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained therapists!


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