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Importance of rehab after injury

I’ve got my physio hat on again as I wanted to remind everyone again about how important it is to treat and rehab injuries correctly.

I was playing tennis last week when a chap on the next court fell over on the first ball that he hit. I went over to help and he had sprained one of the ligaments in his ankle. It turned out that it was the same injury that he had suffered 5 weeks earlier. Unfortunately he had only rested the ankle and had waited for it to stop hurting before playing again.

This may seem the sensible thing to do but actually he had predisposed himself to further injury. His injury needed appropriate stretching to prevent scar tissue forming which becomes a weak point in the ligament. He also should have worked on his balance and coordination to get the mechano-receptors in his ligaments working again. Without these your brain cannot react in  time to maintain balance…leading to  a ‘weak’ ankle. He also hadn’t warmed up before he started to hit the ball. I explain all of this in my book, Play Tennis Forever, so hopefully these common misunderstandings can be avoided.

My message is, please rehab your injuries properly. You may need to get some professional advice from an appropriate healthcare professional, but well worth it if it helps to prevent re-injury.

Good luck and I hope you are able to get out there and enjoy this extended good weather!

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Warming up

It looks like the colder weather is on its way though that isn’t going to prevent most of us from continuing to play tennis through the winter. So I just wanted to remind everyone about the importance of a good warm up session before playing, especially if you are going to play in cold weather.

Our muscles work best when they are warm and supple with a good blood flow going through them. The aim of a warm up is to gradually increase heart rate and get those muscles warm and ready for action. Without this preparation your muscles and ligaments are far more likely to suffer some form of injury. A good warm up before you play and good clothing to maintain body temperature, whilst wicking away sweat gives you the best chance of a good performance and avoidance of injury.

I will be posting a leaflet about warming up and appropriate clothing soon which can be downloaded…so watch this space!


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multicoloured strapping tape

Have you seen the new type of strapping that some of the tennis players and athletes wear nowadays? It is called kineseology tape and differs from other types of strapping by the fact that it is stretchy.

Many people have asked me about his type of strapping and what I think of it. Well, officially the jury is still out on how effective it is in some of it’s claims for enhancing recovery….more research needs to be done. However, I have personally used the tape, as have many of my physio colleagues, and found it has worked well with a lot of  players.

I spent this last weekend on a course specifically about this new type of strapping and found it very interesting. I will certainly continue to use it and will be getting feedback to find out what fellow players think about it.  I would recommend that if you wanted to try it for an injury, please get an appropriately trained healthcare professional  to apply it and then to teach you how to do it to yourself for that particular injury. Understandably, if you use the wrong tape or apply it incorrectly then you won’t get the benefit it can give you. A little time spent doing it properly is well worth it if it helps to get you back to fitness quicker and helps with the rehabilitation needed to prevent re-injury. Good luck!


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Healthy Feet

Having written about insoles in my last blog it was a bit of a coincidence that I saw an article on condition-specific insoles that are now available to buy. For those who have specific conditions with their feet it is always advisable to see a qualified podiatrist or orthotist who specialise in custom-made insoles. However, the insoles being produced for over the counter sales are improving all of the time.

These condition specific insoles claim to help people who suffer from early osteoarthritis, bunions, muscular, ligament and tendon dysfunctions.

So, if you experience problems with your feet, a little time spent finding the correct insole, or seeing an appropriate healthcare professional to asses for the insole could make all the difference to your comfort and performance.

Good, appropriate insoles make healthy feet which can only be a good thing.

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Footwear for tennis

Do you carry on playing tennis outside when it is raining? None of us like to stop mid set when it starts raining but it seems to have happened quite a lot this summer. The chance of slipping obviously becomes much greater when the courts get wetter.

During one of these rain breaks I took a look at my fellow tennis players’ trainers…very interesting. Some were wearing new shoes bought for the season which had already worn down on the sole, others still using ones from the previous years. None of them had what I would think was enough grip left.

It is well worth keeping an eye on the wear and tear of the soles of your tennis shoes as it gives you a picture of where you are taking most of your weight through your feet. For example, if the wear is predominately on the inside boarder of the sole, you may be over-pronating your foot (rolling it inwards). By putting in a good supportive insole you can help correct the uneven loading of your feet which should even out the wear and tear. Hopefully this will make your trainers/tennis shoes last longer and have better grip.

You will still have to replace your shoes when needed but the insoles are transferable to new trainers and should last for years.

So being sole aware will make your shoes last longer, have better grip on the court and hopefully save you some money in the long run…worth a look!


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Balance during everyday tasks

If you have read my last blog and could relate to what my fellow tennis player said about his legs getting longer, then you may also appreciate what another friend said to me…why do I now have to hold onto something when putting my socks or tights on?

This is a lady in her early 50s but already was finding that her balance isn’t as good as it was. this is because, unless we practise using our balance mechanisms then they do become sluggish and reactions slower. This lady is now practising balancing on one foot every time she brushes her teeth and after about three weeks has found that she can now balance when putting on her socks. Now that is a great outcome and so easily achieved.

I saw this joke that really sums up this and my last blog…

One ‘older’ lady says to her friend, ‘I went to an aerobics class the other day. I stretched, bounced about, fell over a few times, it was agony…by the time I got my leotard on the class was over’



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Stretches and movement needed!

One of my fellow club memberes asked me a funny question…’why is it that my legs seem to be getting longer every day?’ I asked him what he meant and he said that it seemed to get harder to reach his feet each day to put his socks on!  Many people find their legs ‘getting longer’ as they get older but what is really going on?? Well simply their hips are getting a bit stiffer and their muscles a bit tighter. Usually this can be improved by a simple programme of daily movement through range and simple stretches. Some people do these before they get out of bed….then their legs won’t seem so long when getting dressed!

If you keep those muscles and soft tissues supple then you’ll find your legs don’t ‘grow’ each night!!

A stretch a day keeps the leg growth at bay!!

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Commonwealth Games

Did you watch any of the Common Wealth Games? I was lucky enough to get some tickets and so spent the week up in Glasgow. It was great to see the city in such a good light, the sport was fantastic and the atmosphere amazing. I always find watching athletes at the top of their game inspire me to stay fit and try to be the best I can…doesn’t always work, still lose some games!

I have to say that I found the squash mesmerising. The speed at which they hit the ball and react defies belief at times but it does show it is possible to speed up reaction times with increased fitness, so, if you want to get to those shots a bit faster, react a bit sooner then what a good reason to exercise…you’ll be pleased you did when you see the benefits! Good luck!

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Live BBC interview

Well, things have gone a bit crazy…I’ve been interviewed by local newspapers, been interviewed on a live BBC radio show and apparently the Wimbledon commentators were talking about my book in a rain break during the second week. How fun is that!!??

The BBC interview was on Katie Martin’s show for radio Solent, so I got to go to the BBC studios in Southampton. Happy to do it of course if it means that it has encouraged somebody to go out and try their hand at tennis. So, whilst we’re still enthusiastic after Wimbledon, make sure you get out there and hit some balls! Enjoy!

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