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Fit to Play Injury Treatment: The "PRINCE" Principle

by Carl Petersen PT.

Tennis Injuries are often preventable, and with early intervention and proper exercise progressions their incidence and severity may be decreased. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of injuries and learning what to do about them can help reduce your recovery time. What follows are some common sense guidelines to help you understand the injuries, know their potential causes and some tips on treatment and prevention.

Protection:
From further injury or aggravation. This may range from more stable shoes, protective taping and bracing to orthotic devices to correct foot alignment.

Rest (Modified):
Rest from the aggravating activity. If it causes pain and swelling don’t do it. Changing to a non-weight bearing activity like cycling, elliptical trainer, swimming or water running can help reduce discomfort and keep you active.

 

Ice:
Applying ice or cold packs minimizes bleeding and swelling by reducing blood flow to the injured area. Pain is decreased due to the numbing effect of the cold. Use a gel pack, crushed ice or a bag of frozen peas and apply to the area for 15 minutes, repeating every two to three hours. Do not apply ice directly to the skin since doing so can cause frostbite.

NSAID:
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication taken under a physician's supervision can be effective in decreasing inflammation and pain and thus speed the healing process. Other over the counter remedies can also be helpful.

 

Compression:
External compression helps to decrease the amount of swelling and bleeding into the injured area. Using a tensor bandage, begin wrapping below the injured area and work upwards, unwinding the bandage evenly without too much tension. Do not apply ice or compression if you have circulatory problems or trouble distinguishing hot from cold.

 

Elevation:
Raising the injured area above the heart helps prevent swelling and aids in draining the swelling into large blood vessels.

A Physical Therapist or Sports Physician can teach you precautions, advise you on return to participation, and help adjust training techniques and exercise progressions based on your age and fitness level. Carl Petersen PT. a partner and Director of High Performance Training at City Sports & Physiotherapy Clinics. He & former WTA Touring Pro, Nina Nittinger, co-authored two training books titled Fit to Play Tennis and Fit to Play Tennis 2nd Edition

 

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