The style on how the individual plays, type of racket used and how the individual hits the forehand and backhand are factors why forearm and wrist pain occur after playing tennis. Managing the pain and preventing future injury requires a plan to initially alleviate the pain with adequate rest and application of ice and then perform flexibility and strengthening exercises. In case the individual experiences pain after 2-3 weeks of home treatment, it is vital to schedule an appointment with a doctor.
Once the individual strikes the ball, the group of arm muscles is utilized to control the movement of the forearm, hand and wrist. The major muscles start close to the elbow and include the wrist extensors, supinators, wrist flexors, pronators and brachioradialis.
The extensors are group of 8 muscles that help extend the wrist. The flexors are composed of 6 muscles that flex the wrists. As for the pronators, they are responsible for rotating the forearm from the palm up to palm down position. The supinators perform the opposite which rotate the forearm from palm down to palm up position. As for the brachioradialis, it flexes the forearm at the elbow.
What are the possible causes?
Overuse, wrong equipment and poor stroke mechanics are the main reasons why those who play tennis end up with forearm and wrist pain. Individuals who utilize extreme grips and strike with excessive spin are prone to injury. Remember that these place the forearm and wrist in a position that places undue stress and strain on the tendons and muscles. Understandably, this results to small-sized tears, inflammation and even tendonitis that can trigger pain.
Due to poor technique, it is also possible for those who play with a two-handed back hand to end up with tendonitis in the non-dominant wrist. Playing with a grip that is too small for the hand or a light-weight racket can also result to forearm strain and stress. Take note that the arm is the one that absorbs the shock produced from the impact instead of the racket frame.
What are the signs and symptoms?
There is radiating pain that runs down the forearm to the wrist along with a weakened grip. In some cases, the individual will notice minimal swelling of the wrist along with redness around the affected joint. Certain actions such as lifting a heavy object, shaking hands or turning a key can trigger pain.
Once the pain has fully subsided and manageable, it is vital to strengthen the forearm muscles and tendons that stabilize the wrist. You can utilize a 3-5 pound dumbbell and execute wrist flexion and extension maneuvers as well as forearm pronation training.
These exercises can be performed using a resistance band. When improving the grip strength, the individual should squeeze a squishy, old tennis ball. It is recommended to perform 2-3 sets of 10 repetitions during each exercise and work out both arms.