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Is tennis compatible with cycling?(9 posts)

Is tennis compatible with cycling?tarwheel
Sep 10, 2002 10:37 AM
My 13-year-old daughter has gotten into playing tennis over the past few months and frequently recruits me to play with her. It's a great way for us to bond, as there's not much that dads have in common with girls that age, and I'm really enjoying it. The problem is that it's apparently hard on my knees. I started having some knee problems this spring, which I initially thought were related to cycling. After going to see a doctor, I safely ruled out cycling as the problem. My knees don't bother me after riding, but when I do other things -- like playing tennis or working in the yard on my knees. All the starting and stopping while playing tennis seems to really aggravate something in my right knee, particularly if I have also been riding a lot. I rode about 120 in 3 days last weekend and also played tennis on Friday, Sunday and Monday. Today my knee is killing me and is very stiff. Any tennis players out there with advice? Would an Ace bandage over my knee help?
You've got to build some base for other activities . . .Geardaddy
Sep 10, 2002 11:17 AM
Certainly, one thing I've noticed as I am getting older (38 yrs. young) is that it's becoming harder to jump around to different activities. In the summer, I mostly bike now. I used to do more running, rock climbing, hockey, and much more. Cycling works very specific muscle groups, so I'm wary of putting a lot of intensity into other activities that I'm doing infrequently.

For instance, I participated in a sand volleyball league off and on, and every time I was straining something (e.g. hamstring, foot, shoulder, back, et. al.) that simply was not getting much use on the bike. Also, I know that I need to really watch how long I'll take on turn waterskiing, as it is a given that my left leg hamstring will be super sore for a week from skiing on one ski. Hell, I'll even get sore after playing golf (which I now do about 2 times a year).

Overuse or not allowing enough rest time is an issue too. 3 hours on a bike is a hard effort and requires adequete recovery time. I'll never forget the time I went for a very long run one day and then played hockey that night, where I ended severly straining an MCL on my knee.

A bandage is not going to solve the problem. You need to ease into the other activity, or do some regular weight training or cross training to keep your body better prepared and "well-rounded".
Difficult to serve while pedaling. (nm)Captain Morgan
Sep 10, 2002 11:21 AM
re: Tennis is harder than it looks.dzrider
Sep 10, 2002 11:53 AM
All the starting, stopping, and bending beat the legs up pretty
bad while they get used to the game. Not only that your cycling
makes the rest of your body able to hold up a lot longer than an
inactive person taking it up. If you have played the game
well in the past it's like the third strike. You'll probably
have to settle for some hit and giggle tennis without running the
court very hard for a while and let your body adjust.
re: Is tennis compatible with cycling?feathers mcgraw
Sep 10, 2002 12:15 PM
Hard courts are pretty rough on your knees. Are there clay courts where you are? I'm no doctor, so that's all I got for you.
A couple of thoughtsdjg
Sep 10, 2002 12:21 PM
I grew up playing competitive tennis--played one year in college before switching to the cycling team. So (a) I've got some perspective; but (b) I'm NOT a sports medicine doc, which is what you might want to consult.

Tennis can be hard on the knees in several ways. Some of these can be alleviated by your choice of shoes and even court surface (there are real differences, not just between clay and hardcourt but among hardcourts).

Starting and stopping on the court can subject the knee not just to pounding (compression) but to all sorts of torque and oblique stress. If that's your problem, new shoes won't help much. Sometimes something like an ace bandage or sleeve helps a little--probably not so much by disallowing harmful motion (it's too weak for that) as by making you aware of your knee and what you are doing with it. Other folks seem to require real braces to keep the knee in place laterally.

Getting better at tennis actually can help, in that better early perception of the flight of the ball, and better early positioning, can radically reduce the sort of last second lunges that are both erratic and stressful. OTOH, it may not be a cure and it may take quite some time.

I'd suggest the following: try a cheap and modest fix, like new shoes with lots of cushioning and an elastic sleeve. Do some advil and follow the tennis with ice. But if that doesn't do it, or you're in any serious pain now, consult a sports medicine doc about the particulars of your problem. The phrase "killing me" sounds bad and suggests going the doc route. Don't screw up your knees first, and look into the problem second.

Last ditch possibility? "Canadian doubles"? (you and somebody else on one side of the net--not much running--and your daughter on the other)

Good luck.
A couple of thoughtstarwheel
Sep 10, 2002 12:31 PM
Well, my knee isn't actually killing me, but it is stiff and sore. I took some Advil and that helped. I probably need some better shoes as I have been wearing some old cross-training shoes I've had for several years. I went to see a sports doc in the spring and he said my knees seemed to be fine, and he didn't think cycling was the cause of my problem. It sounds like I might just have to work at anticipating shots more and running less.
Another thought.theBreeze
Sep 10, 2002 3:04 PM
One major difference between tennis and cycling is the plane of movement. Tennis involves lot of lateral (side to side) movement, cycling is almost entirely in the saggital plane (front to back). In addition to consulting a sports doc, consider some lateral strength training. Do hip abduction and adduction with resistance from elastic bands, or on a multi-hip machine if you have access to a gym. You can start with bands or tubing either around your ankles, or just above the knee to lessen knee strain. Work up to lateral lunges, first with only body weight, then dumbells, but don't go real heavy. If you aren't familiar with weight training or how to perform these exercises, see a fitness specialist or personal trainer. One or two sessions to learn correct form and how to avoid injury would be worth the expense. I have seen cyclists and runners with weakness in lateral movements, and they have greatly benefited from adding lateral strength training to their routine.
As a former tournament tennis player..koala
Sep 11, 2002 3:03 AM
I can tell you there is nothing mutually exclusive about the two sports but the knees do see a lot of twisting and abrupt motions they never see cycling. I would not play tennis until the knee settles down and then phase the tennis back in slowly.