Racket sports involves highly repetitive and explosive movements in the upper limb, and lots of side to side movements involving high friction forces between the surface and lower limb. Injuries common to the upper limb are rotator cuff strains, elbow conditions such as epicondylitis, and wrist sprains to name a few. Lower limb insults often involve sprained ankles, knees, and tightness in gluteal muscles and deep hip rotators.
The key to avoiding injuries and minimizing old injuries and maximizing performance? A comprehensive warm up and cool down.
Addressing the upper limb should involve neck movements and scapular stabilization exercises. The head can place great strain in the neck, which is the outlet for nerves that serve the upper limb. A strong and properly positioned scapula will promote the best possible mechanics for the shoulder joint, elbow and wrist. The shoulder has the most range of motion of any joint in the body and should be addressed accordingly with movement in every plane.
The hip is the mobility center for the lower limb and should be addressed like the shoulder so that all possible ranges are explored. This frees up the lower back to perform its stabilizing role, and will put the knee and ankle in their best positions.
Injured? Pre participation routine should involve heat, self-massage, and any taping or bracing necessary. The cool down should involve extra time stretching and mobilizing overused areas so that stiffness doesn’t set in. Old injuries usually involve scar tissue that must continually be maintained. Remember injured joint require longer and more focused warm up procedures.
Aaron Mattes Active Isolated Stretching and strengthening system involves over 20 different stretches for the shoulder. These can be adapted for both pre participation and cool down situations. Protocols for the foot can involve up to 16 different stretches to address specific needs of the foot, ankle and knee. If you are a racket sports athlete, then Mattes Method A.I.S. can be a reliable and systematic way to prepare and recover from racket sports. Come visit Adrian Yahvah MS. ATC to begin your program for more enjoyable sports participation.
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