Spine Injuries in Tennis

  • Stephan N. Salzmann
  • Javier Maquirriain
  • Jennifer Shue
  • Federico P. GirardiEmail author


Besides the lower and upper extremities, the spine is a very common location for injuries in tennis players. Sudden stops and starts, trunk rotation, lateral flexion, and hyperextension of the lower back during a tennis match put the spine at increased risk for injury. The serve and the double-handed backhand in particular can place extreme forces on the lumbar spine. Disabling low back pain as a result of these movements is a challenge for both the athlete and the treating physician. Common pathologies in tennis players include lumbar strain, facet joint arthropathy, lumbar degenerative disc disease, herniated nucleus pulposus, spondylolysis, and spondylolisthesis. Since these pathologies often coexist, isolating a single cause of the patient’s back pain can be difficult. However, in order to treat the athlete optimally, accurate identification of the primary pain generator is crucial. The initial treatment of low back pain in tennis players without signs of a neurologic emergency is conservative. However, surgery remains an option when conservative management fails and symptoms persist or worsen. For each tennis spine injury diagnosis, multiple therapeutic modalities are available to address the needs of the patient and allow a safe and rapid return to play.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stephan N. Salzmann
    • 1
  • Javier Maquirriain
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Jennifer Shue
    • 1
  • Federico P. Girardi
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Spine and Scoliosis Service, Hospital for Special SurgeryWeill Cornell Medical CollegeNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Centro Nacional de Alto Rendimiento Deportivo (CeNARD, Secretaría de Deporte, Ministerio de Desarrollo Social de la Nación)Buenos AiresArgentina
  3. 3.Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET), Ministerio de Ciencia y Tecnología e Innovación ProductivaBuenos AiresArgentina
  4. 4.Asociación Argentina de TenisBuenos AiresArgentina

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