Tennis Needs Reform To Cut The Toll Of Injuries To Its Best Players
As Laura Robson retires after three hip operations, Wendy Owen says the time has come for changes to be made to the game
Following the announcement that Britains Laura Robson has retired from tennis at the age of 28 after three hip operations , I feel that a review of the sport and its impact on the long-term health of participants is overdue. Laura joins a long list of players who have had surgery at what is a relatively young age . Procedures such as hip replacements only last about 15 years, so former players will probably face further surgery, not to mention the likelihood of suffering with arthritis in old age.
Tennis involves a lot of pivoting and twisting, which is hard on the hips there may be more hip and lower leg injuries due to the increased time spent rallying in the modern game, which seems to have moved away from the serve-and-volley game of previous eras. As a result, matches last considerably longer in what is already a lengthier playing season. Playing surfaces are also considerably harder, which adds to the impact on joints.
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Can I Play Tennis After Hip Replacement 5 Things To Do When Returning To The Court
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Hip replacement can reduce excruciating hip pain. But is it a career ending surgery? Can I play tennis after hip replacement, or does this mean the end of my tennis playing days? Lets find out.
Hip replacement is major surgery done to reduce stiffness, poor functioning or chronic pain in your hip. While hip replacement can be a big relief to someone suffering from pain, it does have its downsides.
For example, sports enthusiasts are always confused whether they can play tennis after hip surgery or not? We have mentioned the common issues that arise when you return to the tennis court.
Hip replacement surgery also has some risks associated with it. Lets glance at the visual guide related to risks and other questions related to hip and knee replacement surgery.
Tips For Getting Back Into Tennis After Hip Surgery
There are several tips for getting back into tennis or other sports and exercise after a hip replacement. Among them are taking lessons from a club professional. That way, they can help you get the timing back on your shots, as well as helping to manage your movement around the court. They may also recommend playing doubles to reduce the amount of stress on the new joint.
Remembering to stretch before and after a match is important too, but the main tip is to follow the advice of your physical therapist. They will be able to guide and give you the best chance of returning to the court.
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What Is Hip Resurfacing
Hip resurfacing works in a slightly different way to hip replacement as the head of the thighbone, known as the femoral head, is not removed.
Instead the bone is trimmed and then capped with a metal covering, while any other bone or cartilage that is damaged is removed with a metal shell taking its place in the same way that it would in a hip replacement.
Some of the benefits for hip resurfacing compared to a replacement include the belief that they are easier to revise and exchange if the implant fails at a later date.
Many experts also believe that the chances of the hip dislocating are decreased and that walking patterns can be more natural following this operation.
The surgery usually lasts between one and three hours and patients can be discharged within four days of the procedure.
Day-to-day activity could be possible again within 6 weeks of the surgery being completed, but a full recovery is likely to take several months and in some cases as long as a year.
Why Hip Surgery Wouldnt Help Extend Andy Murrays Tennis Career
Andy Murrays injuries stem from the excess loads on his joints from a career as a professional tennis player.
While Murray and his colleagues have been coy about the exact injury hes been struggling with, professional athletes face two typical hip problems, says Martin Hägglund, who studies physiotherapy at Linköping University in Sweden.
Femoroacetabular impingement syndrome causes a formation at the top of the thigh bone where it meets the pelvis, or the bottom of the pelvis where it rubs alongside the thigh bone. This bone formation can cause an impingement when you try to flex or bend the leg, says Hagglund.
FAI can be exacerbated by putting excess loads on joints during teenage growth spurts, as Murray, who has been playing tennis at a high level since a young age, is likely to have done, says Ash James, a sports physiotherapist at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK.
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Talk To A Physio Before Resuming
You can talk with a physical therapist that you want to play tennis for the first time or resume playing tennis again. You need enough energy, strength, balance, movement, awareness, and flexibility to play the sport adequately.
Your physical therapist will understand your requirements and help you implement all the essential strategies. They will help you know tennis movements specifically, which you can perform adequately.
What Was Wrong With Murray’s Hip And What Surgery Did He Have
The three-time Grand Slam champion said he had been in pain every day, even struggling to put on his socks and walk the dogs. It sounded bleak, but his team were pretty cagey about what the injury actually was.
Professor Max Fehily, consultant orthopaedic surgeon and clinical director at the Manchester Hip Clinic, believes Murray may have had hip impingement – essentially a problem with the ball-and-socket joint.
Speaking before Murray announced he had had surgery, Prof Fehily said: “Repetitive and heavy hip flexion can damage the cartilage of the socket and can lead to deformity of the ball.
“This is a common injury in high-impact sports such as martial arts, rugby and gymnastics. It’s not as common in tennis, but Murray is such an impact player.”
So what does a hip resurfacing operation entail?
“Smoothing down the ball, then covering it with a metal cap,” explained Fehily. “Then a layer of metal is placed within the pelvic socket in which it sits.”
American doubles legend Bob Bryan had a similar operation in 2018.
Bryan, 40, was on court within five months of his operation and competed with twin brother Mike at the Australian Open.
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The Main Thing Right Now For Me Is To Just Feel Good On The Court Again And Get My Confidence Back Says The 24
Green clay isnt the most common surface on the mens professional tour. Yet its where Sumit Nagal chose to mark his return to competitive tennis after six months. He has good reason for it though.
Its where I began winning a lot of matches in 2019 and my career really started, Nagal said. In the back-to-back US green clay-court Challenger events in Sarasota, Tallahassee and Savannah, Nagal made the Round of 32, quarter-finals and semi-finals respectively that season. A few months later, he played Roger Federer at the US Open and went on to capture the Buenos Aires Challenger.
Its these little things that assume greater significance for athletes returning from lengthy injury layoffs. As Nagal put it, When you get a surgery and come back, its a different story.
Its reflecting in his comeback after a hip surgery last November. Nagal, ranked world No 280 now, lost to Australian Jason Kubler 6-4, 2-6, 3-6 in his first match back earlier in April at Sarasota, and then in straight sets to USA’s Michael Mmoh in his opening round in Tallahassee last week. Hes competing in the Savannah Challenger this week, vying to tune up the disrupted rhythm and court movement without getting fussed about results.
The last two weeks of practice, we pushed very hard to see if Ill be able to play matches. It wasnt too bad. Of course, not every day is smooth. And I think Im still under the process of coming back to where I was and how I was moving before, Nagal said.
Andy Murray Was On The Verge Of Retirement At 2019 Australian Open But Same Operation As The Undertaker Saved His Career And Makes Emotional Return To Grand Slam Action In Melbourne
Andy Murray will make an emotional return to the Australian Open, three years on from when his tennis career looked to be over.
A hip injury was causing him great pain and he admitted he wasnt sure he could carry on playing.
In an emotional press conference, Murray broke down in tears as he foreshadowed his retirement from the game.
He said: I spoke to my team and I told them that I cant keep doing this, I needed to have an endpoint because I was playing with just no idea of when the pain was going to stop.
Ive been in a lot of pain for what has been probably 20 months now, Ive pretty much done everything that I could to try to get my hip feeling better, hasnt helped loads.
Tributes were paid from the great and the good of the tennis world, congratulating the three-time Grand Slam winner on a magnificent career.
Murray decided to undergo a second hip operation that would, first and foremost, improve his quality of life and also give him a glimmer of hope of one day returning to professional tennis.
Doubles legend Bob Bryan had undergone the same hip resurfacing surgery and advised him to do the same as it had enabled him to get back to competitive tennis.
It was also a procedure that WWE legend The Undertaker also underwent and that enabled him prolong his career by another decade.
Hip resurfacing is slightly different to a hip replacement as the head of the thighbone, known as the femoral head, is not removed.
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Grand Slam: Common Injuries On The Road To Wimbledon Glory
Strawberries and cream for breakfast, Pimms and lemonade for refreshment and a buzz of anticipation and excitement in the air. It can only mean one thing Wimbledon is about to begin. The oldest tennis tournament in the world, and one of the most celebrated, it continues to attract thousands of spectators and TV viewers across the globe.
While the history of lawn tennis is truly ingrained in Wimbledon, the evolution of the sport from a gentle afternoon activity for the gentry to the fast, intense, physically demanding game played now is worlds apart. Today, tennis players are reaching more than 10,000 competitive games in a career. And these games arent exactly short the title for the longest match at Wimbledon goes to Isner and Mahut in 2010, which lasted for 11 hours and 5 minutes.
Unsurprisingly, playing tennis is heavy on the joints. As a high impact sport, injuries from tennis are common and many players are juggling more than one injury at any one time. Wimbledon is still the only Grand Slam tennis tournament that is played completely on grass court surface. The grass court surface allows for faster play with a lower ball bounce and shorter point duration and this has an influence injury patterns. Knee, elbow, shoulder, lumbar back, groin and ankle muscle injuries are all common, and have been for the last 10 years at Wimbledon.
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How Did We Get To This Point
Murray, 31, says he has had pain in his hip for “a number of years” – and after losing in the Wimbledon quarter-finals in 2017, he took the rest of the season off.
Last January he had surgery, after which he said: “I’m not finished playing tennis yet. I’m going to be competing at the highest level again.”
Twelve months – and only seven tournaments – later, he gave an emotional news conference before the Australian Open, saying it could be his final tournament.
Despite a trademark fightback in his first-round match with Roberto Bautista Agut, he lost in five sets.
Speaking after the match, he said he would decide in a “week or two” what he would do next.
Have You Been Able To Get Back To The Things You Wanted To Do After Joint Replacement Surgery
Yes, and more. Ive been extremely active my entire life. As my hip deteriorated, it compromised my golf, skiing, hiking and more. I was a competitive tennis player through college. I had completely given up playing tennis the past ten years due to the pain, lack of mobility and severely compromised flexibility. Im back to playing tennis twice a week with no pain whatsoever and at a level that I could never have imagine reaching again.
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So Will Everything Be Fine Now Murray Has Had The Surgery
Sadly, the procedure is not a magic remedy.
Even if the surgery has corrected the issue, the metal components can wear out after 10 to 15 years – earlier if the patient is very active – and revision surgery, which can be more challenging and produce poor outcomes, is often required.
Prof Fehily said: “Ninety to 95% of patients who have this surgery are delighted and live a pain-free life – they can ski, swim, cycle and play golf at the weekend.
“But none of them try to play professional tennis.”
The vast majority of people who have the surgery – in the UK, at least – are over the age of 55.
Thoughts On Tennis After Joint Surgery
George, does your positive result include singles ambition now or in the future ? As I recall you were competing enthusiastically in singles until hip issues. How do you see singles for you now?
Winder, coincidentally, i played my first post-tournament singles match on Friday. The challenge nowadays, is not whether i can play tournament singles but if i can play singles AND dubs on the same day! My public goal is still to be top ten in the nation in the 90s! thanks, george
Hi George!I had total knee robotic replacement about 3 weeks ago and doing really well, riding a stationery bike and 111 degree bend. Go back to Michigan mid May and plan to start off slow on the ball machine a few weeks in Florida. Will rehab the knee in the summer and play social tennis, nothing real competitive. Plan to come back in October to Florida and be ready to play hopefully without any pain. Know lot of players who are playing tennis successfully with both knees replaced. Is this plan too aggressive or not?
Ron, i am a hip guy, which i understand is easier than the knee, so i will defer to others on that. george
Love the GB Shaw comment above, and everyone should move to the Naples area when they retire.or BEFORE! Thankful every day that we are healthy enough to play the game. Keep on Trucking, indeed!
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Tennis After Total Hip Arthroplasty
ABSTRACT & COMMENTARY
Synopsis: Total hip replacement allows return to tennis however, athletes tend to play the sport with only 14% of physicians approving the activity.
Mont MA, et al. Tennis after total hip arthroplasty. Am J Sports Med 1999 27:60-64.
This paper is the result of a questionnaire sent to all members of the U.S. Tennis Association to identify those members having undergone a total hip arthroplasty and investigate the resultant return to tennis. The questionnaire identified 58 members with 75 hip arthroplasties. Questions investigated three areas: 1) the total hip, 2) general tennis questions and 3) sports-specific tennis questions .
The respondents in this study underwent total hip arthroplasty at an average age of 62 . Types of hips placed included cemented , uncemented , and hybrid . The questionnaire was completed at a mean time of eight years after the hip replacement . Interestingly, only eight patients surgeons approved the activity. The surgeons of 20 respondents recommended only doubles play, and 52% of the respondents surgeons were completely opposed to any tennis playing.
Mont et al should be commended for such a unique and ingenious study. They recommend that physicians advise caution in tennis activities and carefully follow their patients for evidence of osteolysis. But, I wonder, will the patient listen?
Tennis after total hip arthroplasty is:
a. usually tolerated well with no thigh pain.
b. universally recommended by surgeons.