Application of Controlled Movement and Proprioceptive Challenge to Lower Body Stretching for Elite Tennis Players
By Michal Novotny PT and Todd Ellenbecker DPT, MS, SCS, OCS, CSCS
Injuries to the lower extremities in elite tennis players are prevalent due to the multidirectional movements inherent in tennis play coupled with the repetitive loading and often extreme ranges of motion incurred in some tennis strokes. Tennis is unique in that it is played on many surfaces with very different coefficient of friction and traction demanding different responses at the court/shoe interface affecting traction, lower body loading, and ultimately functional performance. An increase awareness of hip injuries in including hip impingement and labral tears has necessitated clinical strategies aimed at reducing intra-articular hip injury. Descriptive study of hip internal and external rotation range of motion have shown bilateral symmetry in elite level tennis players. Additionally, tennis players and other multidirectional sport athletes have long been plagued with muscular injury in the form of strains particularly of the two joint musculotendinous structures of the hip and groin. Finally, recent emphasis has been places on dynamic stretching and warm-up prior to athletic performance due to the finding of short term decreases in acute high intensity muscular power and explosiveness following traditionally applied static stretches in athletes.