Tennis places high loads on the joints of players, with supraphysiologic forces being generated at the shoulder and elbow hundreds of times per match. Acute injuries tend to affect the lower extremity; chronic injuries usually involve the upper extremity. Commonly encountered upper extremity conditions include rotator cuff injury, internal impingement, superior labral tears, and epicondylitis of the elbow. Serving is the most strenuous stroke in tennis, with the highest peak muscle activity in the shoulder and forearm occurring during this stroke. The kinetic chain links upper extremity, lower extremity, and core muscle segments by transmitting coordinated activation and motion; in this regard, any pathologic process that disturbs the groin, hip, and abdominal musculature can further result in an increased risk of injury to the shoulder and upper extremity. Evolution in equipment and in play surfaces has also affected the type and frequency of injuries. Prevention programs that address the muscular imbalances throughout the kinetic chain may help reduce the incidence of both acute and chronic injuries experienced by tennis athletes.
Copyright 2015 by the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons.