Tennis Strings and Their Links to Injuries
Tennis is a highly physical, complex sport that requires hand-eye coordination that is also in sync with the rest of the body to position, swing, hit, and run. Like all other physical sports, injuries can happen especially if players have not conditioned themselves to be strong, flexible and enduring to take on the demands of playing the game. Though random incidents (like a fall) can happen, there are injuries that can entirely be prevented. This article discusses the factors and types of tennis strings linked to injury and how to avoid such physical traumas.
The types of injuries often associated to improper technique as well as inappropriate equipment include rotator cuff tendinitis, wrist strain, and tennis elbow. Both rotator cuff tendinitis and wrist strain can be avoided by polishing playing techniques to achieve proper body and grip positioning, and swing mechanics. Tennis elbow is also believed to be caused by faulty technique and body positioning, however, grip size and racket string selection also plays a crucial role in preventing this type of injury.
As a general rule when it comes to tennis strings and stringing, the stiffer the strings, the likelier the chance for injury. To ensure comfort and prevent injury, tennis string factors to be wary of:
- Synthetic String Construction – Durability-oriented, monofilament strings consist of a solid single strand that is made typically of Kevlar or polyester. The composition of a monofilament string makes it tougher and more resilient compared with natural gut and other synthetics available in the market. Very durable, monofilament synthetics lose their tension even before they break requiring regular restringing.
- Tennis String Material – Known to be the most durable among tennis string materials, Kevlar strings offer superior abrasion resistance. On the downside, its toughness also makes it the stiffest material that can be hard on the arms. Thus this is not recommended for those suffering from arm problems as well as beginners.
- String Gauge – This refers to the standard measure of thickness where the higher the number, the thinner the string is. Most strings range between 15-17 gauges, with specialty strings within 18-20. Different tennis string material and construction also come in varying gauges and the thicker they are, the lesser the feel and spin potential. So for injury prevention, higher gauge strings are ideal.
- Tension – According to experts, tennis racket string tension is one of the most crucial factors that enhance any player’s game yet the least understood by most recreational players. Advanced power players who hit hard and swing fast would benefit from tighter tensions. But for players suffering from arm problems and beginners with higher frequency of off-center hits, a softer low-tension string bed is required.
All these factors mentioned are what makes strings harder and this is the major thing that players with arm problems should avoid. A racket with a stiff string bed offers poor shock absorption and what happens when playing with one is that instead of the equipment taking in the vibrations of the ball bounce, the stress goes directly to the arms which can lead to injury. So if comfort is a prime consideration, avoid the factors mentioned above and opt for “softer”, more forgiving tennis strings.
Categorised in: Best Tennis Strings