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Lumbar loading and lumbo-pelvic kinematics during the tennis serve in elite adolescent players

Researchers

Dr Amity Campbell, Professor Leon Straker, Prof. Peter O’Sullivan, Prof Bruce Elliott, Dr Machar Reid

Description

Efficient tennis stroke execution requires the effective transmission of kinetic energy from the lower limbs through the torso into the arm. Large magnitudes of load are expected to be generated and absorbed through the lumbo-pelvic region during the tennis serve, which might be associated with the high rate of injury to this region. This project aims to perform the first biomechanical analysis of the lumbar region during the tennis serve. A comparison between elite adolescent players with a recent episode of low back pain and asymptomatic matched controls will provide greater understanding of the link between serve mechanics and lower lumbar injury.

The comparison of the lumbo-pelvic kinematics and kinetics between the four main tennis strokes (forehand, backhand, first serve, Second serve) will further facilitate the rehabilitation of tennis players.

Findings

Findings to date include:

  • The peak force and moment generated and absorbed through the lumbo-pelvic region appear to be greater during the first and second serves, than the forehand and backhand strokes (unpublished data).