The tennis serve and stroke are complex movement patterns demanding rhythmic coordination and timing of specific upper extremity muscles. When a tennis player has poor flexibility, muscle imbalances or poor technique, faulty movement patterns can lead to shoulder injury.
The most common injury in tennis is impingement syndrome. This is a narrowing of the space occupied by the rotator cuff tendons, under the acromion. The tendons are impinged, causing inflammation and pain.
An excellent way to prevent injury is to do exercises that stretch the muscles and capsule in the back of the shoulder. One way to do this is by grasping the elbow and pulling the arm across the body without shrugging the shoulder. Another way is to hold the racket behind your back and move it up and down.
A physical therapist can evaluate whether muscle imbalances or poor mechanics have led to impingement syndrome. The therapist will then develop an appropriate treatment program.