WE LOVE TENNIS <3
I decided to write this article not as a doctor, but as a tennis player who recently suffered from wrist pain.
It is an ugly feeling with constant pain in your wrist that even goes up to cover the whole forearm.
I personally felt immediate pain in my wrist right after I played a match with two overgrips instead of my usual one overgrip. This small change in weight made me suffer for 2 months and I stopped playing for a while.
In this article, I will talk you through the main causes of wrist pain in tennis and how to overcome the suffering and play pain-free again.
What Is Wrist Tendonitis?
According to cleavelandclicnic.org, Wrist tendinitis (tendonitis) is inflammation in the tendons that connect your lower arm to the bones in your fingers.
The condition can cause pain when you grip and lift objects or move your wrist or fingers. Wrist tendon pain usually goes away with rest, medication, injections, or splinting.
In tennis, wrist tendonitis is one of the most common injuries that happen to lots of players. Pros like Juan Martin Del Potro or Kei Nishikori have seen their career seriously affected by wrist pain.
What Causes Wrist Pain for Tennis Players?
There are repetitive patterns as to why wrist pain affects particularly tennis players. Many doctors and experts claim the following reasons:
1. Poor Technique
This is a common cause for beginners and amateurs. A poor technique when executing the shots leads to bad articulations of the muscles and tendons. This leads to pain in the wrist, forearm elbow, and shoulders.
2. Top Spin
Top spin is a modern style of play. You can see lots of players on the Tour or at local clubs rely on western grips and too much spin to play safe and have more control.
This is fine. However, the overuse of top spin includes the rotation of the forearm and the wrist, which stresses the tendon.
Top spin should be executed with immaculate technique and physical fitness and preparation to avoid wrist injuries. You should also carefully pick your playing gear.
3. Racquet and strings
This is a big factor to consider. If you recently suffered from wrist pain, the racquet setup is probably the cause.
For example, racquets with a dense string bed like the 18×20 are good for control, but they transfer more energy to the wrist and forearm.
Another example is the tension of the strings. In general the more tension you put the stiffer the response is, which puts more pressure on your arm.
You should experiment with the strings type (poly, natural gut, synthetic gut,…) and also with the racquet (control, power, feel, …).
4. Racquet Customizations
Stock racquets fresh out of the factory are designed to be weight-balanced as much as possible to not hurt your wrist.
But if you’re a fan of customizing your racquet, adding lead tape, overgrips, silicone filling, and all these things can modify the weight distribution and change the way your wrist responds to the swing.
As a result, it might cause wrist tendonitis or tennis elbow in some instances.
This is the reason why I personally suffered from wrist pain for weeks.
How to Avoid Wrist Tendonitis?
1. Proper Technique
Tennis shots require fitness, footwork, preparation, usage of the muscles and the upper body, and a nice follow-through.
No matter how good you are, you should always pay attention to your movements and your posture when hitting a ball.
Here are some tips for you:
- Take your time to warm up
- Don’t overuse the spin
- Rotate the hips and the shoulders
- Relax your wrist for less pressure on your arm and more action on the ball
2. Proper Gear
Choosing the correct tennis equipment is essential to play pain-free. We are not the same so you should try to experiment a little with your racquet and strings to find the right setup for you.
But in general, to avoid wrist pain you must aim for:
- A comfortable and lighter racquet with an open string pattern
- A racquet with your grip size
- Comfortable poly or natural gut strings
- The lowest playable tension
- No racquet customizations if possible
What to Do When You Already Have Tennis Wrist Pain?
- Rest. When you feel pain in your wrist, take a break from tennis for a week or two and see what happens.
- Anti-Inflammatory medication can also help heal the suffering in the affected area.
After you start to feel ok, then try a match, taking into account the precautions we discussed earlier. You can also use a bandage and a wristband to protect your wrist and alleviate the discomfort.
If the agony persists for weeks, you will have to see a doctor or a physiotherapist.