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Don’t let your love of Wimbledon be a champagne stopper!

Has Wimbledon inspired you to head to the tennis courts in the hope of becoming the next Andy Murray? If the answer is yes, make sure you follow some basic advice to avoid getting injured – or it could be a champagne stopper!

It’s easy to see why Wimbledon is enjoyed by millions of people across the globe. After all, what better way to enjoy the tennis than with a nice bowl of strawberries and cream, and a cold glass of champagne? But if you’re one of those people who would rather be on the court than on the side lines, make sure you take care to avoid injury.

Each year in the UK, about five in every 1,000 people go to see their GP about tennis elbow and one in three people will have tennis elbow at any given time. It can occur after strenuous overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm located below the elbow joint – and it’s not just tennis players who suffer; you are just as likely to be affected if you are a decorator or a violinist!

Dr Marcus Bicknell, a GP in Beechdale and clinical lead at NHS Nottingham City Clinical Commissioning Group, said: “Tennis is a fantastic sport and I love Wimbledon. Tennis elbow can be caused by many different activities such as racquet sports and gardening. Sport can contribute to a variety of shoulder, elbow, wrist, knee, ankle, hip and spine injuries but don’t let this put you off! Exercise has huge health benefits, such as reducing the risk of major illnesses such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and even cancer. Just make sure you warm up properly before doing any sport and gently stretch your muscles.”

Follow these top tips for self-care to keep you on good form:

  • If you have tennis elbow, stop doing the activity that is causing pain, or find an alternative way of doing it which does not place stress on your tendons.
  • Avoid using your wrist and elbow more than the rest of your arm. Spread the load to the larger muscles of your shoulder and upper arm.
  • If you play a sport which involves repetitive movements, such as tennis or squash, getting some coaching advice to help improve your technique may help you avoid getting tennis elbow.
  • Before playing a sport which involves repetitive arm movements, warm up properly and gently stretch your arm muscles to help avoid injury.
  • Use lightweight tools or racquets and enlarge their grip size to help you avoid putting excess strain on your tendons.
  • Wear a tennis elbow splint when you are using your arm, and take it off while you are resting or sleeping to help prevent further damage to your tendons. Ask your GP or physiotherapist for advice about the best type of brace or splint to use.
  • Increasing the strength of your forearm muscles can help prevent tennis elbow. A physiotherapist can advise you about exercises to build up your forearm muscles.

For more information about sports injuries and treatment, visit www.nhs.uk.

Published: 2 July 2015