Chiropractic and the Athlete: Tennis Players


Tennis is a lifelong sport. Research tells us it’s a great way to get fit and lose weight. Burning around 600 to 900 calories in one hour of singles. According to research out of Harvard, playing just 3 hours/week will reduce your risk of heart disease by 56%. A 40-year study out of Johns Hopkins compared tennis to other sports and tennis players had the lowest incidence of cardiovascular disease. Tennis is a very social sport and helps develop teamwork and sportsmanship. In fact, tennis outperforms all other sports in developing positive personality characteristics.

Though just like anything in life, balance is key. And, unfortunately as we age the incidence of overuse injury goes up. Our bodies don’t quite heal and recover like they used. Which is why many tennis athletes seek help from chiropractors.

Chiropractic care has proven to be an effective way to fight the aging battle and help keep our joints, muscles, and nervous system functioning at a high level. With the use of soft tissue techniques, adjustments to both the spine and extremities, movement screens to evaluate potential areas of compensation and overuse, and other modalities to help speed up recovery and treat pain.

Andy Murray receiving an adjustment mid-match.

Andy Murray receiving an adjustment mid-match.

Some of tennis’ most common issues like tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis), rotator cuff issues, wrist and forearm complaints, back pain, knee pain, Achilles and calf injuries, and ankle sprains can be treated by a chiropractor. Especially if that chiropractor has a sports specialty background (look for the CCSP® or DACBSP® certification).

Don’t worry, the news is not all bad.  Generally speaking the rate of tennis injury is pretty low and most injuries are very treatable.  Chiropractic treatments can help stimulate your body’s natural processes needed to recover and repair injuries.  Look for a chiropractor that has experience treating sports injuries and one who will take the time to get to know you and develop customized treatment plans for your specific needs. 

Chiropractic treatments that include the lengthening of muscles, the adjustments to joints, and the improvement of core stability, will enhance biomechanical integrity and drive neurological function to the extent that athletic potentials can be met, and capabilities may even be enhanced. This hypothesis applies to both beginning and recreational level players, as well as to advanced.


Today’s game of tennis involves a faster pace and more explosive power than ever before.  Strength training and conditioning should involve building the body’s core muscles as well as improving balance, flexibility and range of motion.

Proper technique can go a long ways for preventing injury as well. If you’re going to be spending a lot of time playing tennis, you may as well try to absorb some of the knowledge your local coach or pro can offer. 

Dynamic warm-up and rolling before competition are the best way to get the nervous system engaged to perform at your highest level. Static stretching should nearly never happen pre-event, however, there is benefit to stretching afterwards.

Listen to your body. If it hurts before, during, or after competition than you will want to get evaluated right away. Many injuries are compounded because people take too long to get them treated. A mild ache or pain can change the way your move and force you to over-compensate with other muscles.

Novak Djokovic grabs a snack during a match.

Novak Djokovic grabs a snack during a match.

Time your nutrition accordingly. Anything consumed before a match needs to provide fuel for hours, as the match unfolds, and you might have another one later that day. 3-4 hours before should be a full meal with moderate protein, high in carbs, moderate in fat, and quickly digested. 1-2 hours before; some kind of fruit or yogurt, and hydrate (400-600ml). In the minutes leading up to the match; hydrate some more with 300-450ml. Then during match; 150-350ml every 20-30 minutes. Sports drinks are acceptable though you should consider the amount of sugar in the one you choose. Studies show sports drinks containing protein are 15% more effective in rehydrating athletes than conventional sports drink and 40% more effective than water. Lean protein and carbs after competition to help refuel muscle and aid recovery. 


For more on how chiropractic can help your game contact us today and receive your free 15 minute consultation.

Adam Freeman