- By Ian Roth
Mayo Clinic Minute: Why tennis is great for the heart and mind but rough on the wrist
Tennis is one of the healthiest sports you can play, but that doesn't mean there aren't risks. Dr. Sanj Kakar, a Mayo Clinic orthopedic hand and wrist surgeon, says tennis can be quite rough on the wrists.
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Studies show playing tennis is one of the healthiest things you can do. It's good for you heart and brain, and can even help you live longer. But it also can be quite rough on your wrists.
"We see a lot of tennis injuries, especially in younger patients," Dr. Kakar says.
He says there are two main causes of most tennis wrist injuries.
"Some are poor mechanics," he says. "Some have the wrong equipment."
Dr. Kakar says it's common for young children to have wrist injuries from using racquets and tennis balls that are too big or heavy for them. More commonly for adults, injuries come from mechanics issues.
"One of the most common [injuries] that we see, especially with the double-handed backhand or the single-handed backhand, is injury to the ulnar side of wrist," he says.
A bad swing can put too much pressure on certain ligaments, causing significant pain and soreness.
Treatment can range from simple rest, to hand and physical therapy, to corticosteroid injections to — in the worst cases — surgery.
But he says your best option is to avoid injuries in the first place.
"That means taking lessons with a licensed professional about how to, for example, serve, hit certain shots in a particular way with correct technique," Dr. Kakar says. "I think that's first and foremost. [Also,] having the correct equipment."