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OrthoArizona has 70 premier musculoskeletal specialists. The orthopedic surgeons and primary care physicians specialize in all areas of orthopedic care including sports, medicine, spine, shoulder and elbow, hand and wrist, hip and knee, foot and ankle, podiatry, trauma, industrial injuries and workers’ compensation.

3 Common Shoulder Injuries in Tennis & How We Can Help

Tennis is an incredibly popular sport, but that does not make it a safe one. It is easy to develop shoulder injuries in tennis if you are not careful, and inexperienced players can end up hurting themselves if they move in the wrong way. Even the professionals can sometimes have an off day and strain their shoulders.

But what are the 3 common shoulder injuries in tennis & how can we help you deal with them? If you are not prepared for tennis injuries, then it is a good idea to at least learn what you should be expecting to deal with – the basic injuries that all players encounter at least once in their life.

Tennis Elbow

Possibly the most famous injury is tennis elbow, officially known as lateral epicondylitis. This is inflammation of the forearm muscles and tendons on the outside of your elbow, meaning that you have injured the muscles needed to move your elbow correctly.

This often happens if you are using the wrong backhand techniques or body positions – anything that moves your muscles in ways that can overstrain or overstretch them. If you are not careful, it is easy to give yourself tennis elbow as a new player, and it can take a while to learn the right techniques to avoid it.

Tennis elbow is easily spotted since it tends to cause localized elbow pain and additional pain if you move your wrist in specific ways. If you are still playing tennis after developing it, then you will notice when the pain hits.

Shoulder Bursitis

Shoulder bursitis happens when the fluid-filled sacs in your shoulder – the bursae – are inflamed. These bursae are designed to help reduce friction between your joints, so having them inflamed can cause more friction that leads to additional pain and tenderness.

Developing shoulder bursitis can result in multiple major symptoms, from swelling and shoulder warmth to tenderness, pain, and even a fever. All of this can make it much harder to move your shoulder consistently and even result in additional pain that becomes harder to deal with until the condition is treated.

Rotator Cuff Tendinitis

Your rotator cuff muscles and tendons are located around the shoulder joint and are responsible for multi-directional motion and stability. If these become inflamed, then it gets harder to actually rotate your shoulder and move your arm properly.

This is most often caused by repetitive overhead movements, something that can be a real risk to tennis players. Treating it can be incredibly important, even if you take a break from playing: not being able to move your arm correctly can lead to annoying pains and aches during your day-to-day life.

Treating Your Tennis Shoulder Injuries

Your shoulder is an important part of your body, and direct damage to the muscles and tendons inside it can only make it harder to move during your normal routine. The constant pain and stiffness are also major annoyances, and a lot of people struggle to deal with shoulder injuries correctly.

It can be hard to remember that you need to rest your shoulder and trying to force yourself through the injury only leads to it getting worse or not healing correctly (or at all). But aside from resting, what can you actually do to heal up your shoulder injuries properly?


Over-the-counter medication might not cure a problem completely, but it can be one of the best ways to manage the symptoms while it heals. Some injuries will cause constant dull pain even if you are not moving your shoulder, so having some pain relief makes a big difference.

Some can also combat inflammation directly, making it less painful while still allowing it to heal at a natural pace. This can be important if you are finding the inflammation too painful to deal with properly, especially if you are just waiting for the injury to actually heal.

Physical Therapy

Physical therapy can be a great way to ease muscles back into their normal state, even if it takes a while. This is a reliable non-surgical treatment option that will not stress you out too much, and you can even try to practice it yourself at home if you are comfortable doing so.

Even if you are using other treatment methods, physical therapy is never a bad idea, and using it in the right way can speed up your recovery time dramatically. Just make sure you use actual techniques instead of guesswork. Otherwise, you might cause more damage to your shoulder.

Joint and Bursa Injections

Getting steroid injections to treat bursa pain is a valid option, although not everybody is comfortable relying on it. There is a range of different steroids and other chemicals that can be used to improve healing and help reduce the pain that you are feeling, all of which can be easily injected by a medical professional.

The dull ache you feel as a result of getting an injection can be worth the added recovery speed and the reduced pain. Of course, you want to get this done by a proper professional – like all injections, it is important to have somebody doing it properly for safety reasons.


In some cases, surgery can be necessary to fully treat an injury. This is not all that common, but it can be important to remember that surgery is sometimes a requirement to fully treat your issue and that there is nothing wrong with relying on surgery to get rid of a long-term or chronic shoulder problem.

You will want to talk to your doctor about this because it is impossible to know what kind of surgery you would actually need without their help. A decent doctor can do all of the regular checks that are required to fully understand your injury, then suggest (and arrange) the relevant surgical work.

Remember that not all problems require surgery, and some just need to heal naturally. Others will heal on their own but can heal faster with careful surgery or other medical assistance. Whether or not you want to rely on direct surgical treatment is up to you, but some injuries almost require it to fully heal.

Speak with an Orthopedic Specialist Today

Are you suffering from a recent injury? Make an appointment with one of our orthopedic specialists today to start your healing journey. OrthoArizona has nearly two dozen offices throughout the Valley, each focused on quality care, compassion, and excellent customer service. Since 1994, OrthoArizona has been dedicated to compassionate care of the highest quality.

The advice and information contained in this article are for educational purposes only and are not intended to replace or counter a physician’s advice or judgment. Please always consult your physician before taking any advice learned here or other educational medical material.