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Tennis

Tennis is a sport played at all levels of society and at all ages, by millions of recreational players. It can be played by anyone who can hold a racket, including wheelchair users. It provides a good cardiovascular workout and strengthens most muscles of the body.

Because tennis is a full-body game, all your joints come into play: hands to grasp the racket; elbows and shoulders for swinging and hitting the ball; spine for twisting in the serve and groundstrokes; hips, knees, ankles and feet for running, jumping, stopping and starting. Several modifications can be made to the equipment and the style of play to accommodate your arthritis and current level of fitness. Playing doubles tennis for fun and recreation will be easiest on your whole body.

Modifications

Specific modifications will depend on your joints affected, but you may consider the following.

  • To make your tennis playing comfortable and successful, test and select the appropriate racket size, weight and stiffness; string type and tension; and grip size.
  • Learning proper swing mechanics is the most important thing you can do to protect your wrists, shoulders and back.
  • Playing on softer court surfaces, such as clay, is easier on weight-bearing joints.

Tips

  • Flexibility and good core strength are important for tennis.
  • High-top shoes can provide additional ankle stability.
  • Wraps can be worn on your affected joints for support and stability.

Progression

  • Start by learning good body mechanics and swing technique.
  • Play recreational doubles tennis.
  • Start by playing a couple of games, then progress to sets and matches.

This is general tennis information. Get personalized results, with specific modifications and tips customized to your problem joints and level of fitness.