HELP-I keep having a similar rotator cuff injury when I stretch/extend my arm too far

Discussion in 'Health & Fitness' started by dwhiteside, Dec 11, 2009.

  1. dwhiteside

    dwhiteside Semi-Pro

    Aug 22, 2008
    This has happened to me a number of times, both while serving and while hitting a forehand. I'm 21 and in decent shape, play about 5 times a week.

    A while ago I'm playing and a ball's coming fast to my right - not sure if I'll be able to make it to it, but I'll try - it's an important point; so I reeeallly reach out and really stretch for it to hit a forehand. Sharp pain in my rotator cuff/shoulder area, not a tear or a pop sensation, just a stabbing sharp pain, like I over-extended it beyond capacity. So I stop. When I get home, hurts to move it. Took about 2 weeks to heal before I could play again. So about 4 weeks I'm playing fine, then I do a bad serve toss, throw the ball too far into the court. Instead of letting it bounce, I reach forward and try to hit it (a mistake), and I get the same sharp pain in the rotator cuff I did for the forehand, almost identical. Again, hurts in the shoulder area to move it, so I'm out again for 2 weeks.

    Basically I'm wondering what type of injury this is, what I can do to prevent it. I guess all I can do is be mindful of overextending my arm, and try not to hit bad tosses, and try to not do wild stretches without first pushing off with my feet?

    This is basically the only major injury I've had in tennis but it's happened at least 3 times now in the past year, and it's always from my arm way too far out and swinging...

    Suggestions/analysis of the injury?

    Last edited: Dec 11, 2009
  2. charliefedererer

    charliefedererer Legend

    Feb 13, 2009
    The bottom line is you want to do these exercises:

    The reason is:
    "Rotator Cuff and Shoulder Blade Stabilization

    In this article we want to focus on the shoulder and muscles that stabilize that joint. When you talk about tennis and the shoulder the first thing that likely comes to mind is the rotator cuff. The rotator cuff is important in tennis, but often times strength imbalances exist within the rotator cuff that can lead to injury. Most notably, tennis players tend to be weak in the muscles that externally rotate the shoulder. External rotation is an outward rotation and is the opposite of the shoulder motion players make when they serve or hit a forehand. To improve strength of the external rotators you can perform the exercises described in this section of the web page. This exercise should be performed with the dominant arm, but should really be performed with both arms if time permits.

    Not many people think of the upper back when considering how to strengthen and protect the shoulder. But try this simple drill. Place your hand on the shoulder blades of a player and ask him to raise his arms. Can you feel the shoulder blades move? Shoulder movement is very complex and involves movement of the shoulder blade as well as the actual shoulder joint itself. Weakness in the upper back muscles that stabilize the shoulder blades can cause the shoulder to function improperly and may actually contribute to shoulder pain. Exercises that train the stabilizers of the shoulder blade can help tennis players optimize performance and avoid shoulder injury."

    "Rotator cuff exercises can help to prevent common injuries that occur in sports such as tennis, golf and baseball.

    During a baseball pitch for example, the posterior rotator cuff muscles (external rotators, supraspinatus, infraspinatus, teres minor) are exposed to considerable eccentric contraction during the declaration phase (1,2,3,4). Unfortunately, many traditional isotonic exercises may not be effective at targeting the roator cuff muscles (5).

    The problem is often compounded with heavy resistance training. As the athlete strengthens the major muscle groups the rotator cuffs become disproportionately weak. They are placed under increasing strain as they try to 'keep up' with stronger muscles surrounding them. A program of specialist rotator cuff exercises to compliment regular strength training may be able to improve the strength of more isolated muscle groups such as the rotator cuff (5,6). Additionally, training these otherwise neglected muscles may even improve performance (6) as well as help to prevent future injury.

    Athletes who are prone to rotator cuff damage are also often prone to tennis elbow. For the same reasons, it's worthwhile to perform some forearm and wrist strengthening exercises to help prevent this other common overuse injury occurring."

    Further reading on injury prevention:
  3. NineEleven

    NineEleven New User

    Nov 9, 2009

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