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Don't wait for Wimbledon, start playing now

Now is the time to pick up your racket, you'll be match fit in no time.

British role models lead the way

Andy Murray, Laura Robson and Heather Watson - the LTA must be jumping up and down with glee to have such a clutch of successful role models. However, it's not just about the elite players, the LTA want to consolidate the 18% growth in weekly tennis participation they saw in 2012 and that means encouraging participation all year round, not just during the two weeks of Wimbledon! So dust off your racket and get running round the tennis court.... carefully though....

What can go wrong (and how to avoid it!)

With my chiropractic patients tennis ailments tend to fall into 2 categories - overuse and traumatic injury. Contrary to popular belief most tennis injuries affect the lower limb but, of course, there is always tennis elbow to contend with along with neck and shoulder pain. So, in no particular order, the top tennis injuries and a quick word on prevention.

Injury prevention

- Sprained ankle, caused by sudden twists, turns and abrupt change of direction.
Make sure you wear proper tennis shoes that have lateral stabilisation and help to prevent your ankle 'turning over'. DON'T wear running shoes!
- Calf strain (tennis leg) often affects the middle aged athlete and has been described like being shot in the back of the knee
Be diligent about warming up before and after your tennis, stretch out the calf along with all the other major muscle groups
- Shoulder pain/neck tightness may be caused by repeated stress. The serve is the usual suspect in this scenario.
As with all sport, it is worth getting a professional LTA coach to have a look at your game to identify potential biomechanical problems
- Tennis Elbow is the injury most commonly identified with tennis, but it might as well be called plumbers' or musicians' elbow. I often find that tennis is not the cause of elbow pain (actually it's often from excessive keyboard use) but it may stop it healing speedily.
Make sure you warm up the muscles and check your grip size and stringing, either with a coach or a reputable sport shop.

Top Tip

Find a good LTA coach who will help you establish good habits from the outset.

Game, set and match.