Ask The Doc

Image link

Pain – and how to deal with it while trying to play

Tennis is a vigorous and often demanding sport. Any tennis player will experience bumps, hits, pulls, overloads, strains, falls and general musculoskeletal stress. Frequently one response from that exposure will be the sensation of pain, and the player will need to evaluate the reasons for and meaning of the pain and the resulting consequence for play and other activities. Several features of pain can be examined to help inform the player about the significance of the pain.  


One method of assessing the effect of pain is to use the Visual Analogue Scale (VAS), a subjective measurement of the intensity experienced. Rate the amount of pain you are experiencing by comparing to the visual images of the faces. This scale is best used in assessing an acute injury, the degree of acute injury and can provide general guidance about attempting to play. Pain levels below 2-3 are usually compatible with continued play, but values above 3- 4 signify enough injury that further evaluation should be done before resumption of play.

Image link

Pain that occurs during play or only after play can also be assessed and can provide useful information.
Musculoskeletal factors that accompany pain should also be considered. Direct trauma to a body area may produce local injury. Acute swelling localized to the area of pain indicates more tissue injury that will frequently modify play until the swelling is treated and resolved. Stiffness in a joint or muscle that is creating pain indicates tissue reaction that should be addressed to continue play. Muscle weakness can also be associated with pain and indicate more tissue injury.

Image link

Pain can be modified by various methods in attempts to allow play. External braces or wraps can decrease loads on the tissues and joints or provide enough support to lower the pain level. They should be used mainly after an assessment of the reasons for the pain, which shows that no more damage can occur while using the brace or wrap. External creams and lotions can also be used as short-term modalities to decrease the pain. Medication such as non-steroidal anti inflammatories (NSAIDs), acetaminophen, or aspirin may be helpful to reduce pain, but all have side effects that need to be monitored, especially during long term use. You must remember, these pain modifying methods do not directly address the underlying reasons for the pain.
Playing with pain is usually not enjoyable playing. This article provides general comments about pain that can result from tennis play. The statements and guidelines are not meant to provide specific medical information, diagnosis or treatment of any specific painful condition. A good general rule is to remember that pain is your body talking to you, so don’t minimize it, ignore it or cover it up. Prudence recommends that caution be used when trying to “play through” the pain, and that evaluation is helpful to address the reasons for the pain and allow for continued enjoyment while playing.

Image link

If you are experiencing pain and would like to receive one-on-one evaluation, we recommend calling Lexington Clinic Orthopedics at (859) 258-8575 to schedule an appointment with one of our Orthopedic physicians or Physical Therapists (doctor referral not required).  Lexington Clinic also offers a Walk-in Clinic Monday-Friday from 7:30 am – 7:00 pm (no appointment necessary).

Lexington Clinic South Broadway


Address: 1221 South Broadway, Lexington, KY 40504

Telephone: +1 (859) 258-4000

Hours: Mon - Fri: 8:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.

Interested candidates please contact:
Image link
Alexis Sturgill
Onboarding & Recruitment Specialist
Image link
Tammy Spivey, PHR, SHRM-CP
Onboarding &
Recruitment Specialist
Want us to contact you?
Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

APC New Hire Additional Information

Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.

Fill out the form completeley and submit.

Are you a United States citizen?
Marital Status
Veteran Status (Check all that apply)
Disability Status: Do you categorize yourself as having a disability – physical, sensory, or mental condition that substantially, rather than slightly, limits any of your major life functions such as: walking, speaking, seeing, hearing, breathing, working, learning, caring for oneself or performing manual tasks?

Foreign Language and Sign Language Capability

For Language 1:
For Language 2: