Tennis: Why do I have shoulder pain?

Tennis shoulder is an injury that affects the arm the same as tennis elbow. If the individual experiences shoulder pain after playing tennis that develops over time, it might be an indication that it is progressing into a serious condition. Take note that there are steps that can help prevent tennis shoulder pain.

What are the causes?

The shoulder pain from playing tennis can be traced to the mechanics of the overhead tennis swing. Once a tennis ball is struck overhead, a high force of the bodyweight shudders the rotator cuff. Even though these muscles move the arm and shoulder, the repetitive impact can add up to the inflammation and pain in the shoulder joint.


The shoulder pain from playing tennis can be traced to the mechanics of the overhead tennis swing.

The strokes in tennis works out the front part of the shoulder, but not targeting the back part of the shoulder. The muscular imbalance can lead to increased shoulder pain with every tennis session.

When to worry?

Oftentimes, a sore shoulder or shoulder pain that arises after tennis settles after a day of rest and application of ice on the affected region. Nevertheless, the pain might be an indication of a serious condition once it starts to worsen over time or evident at night after playing the sport.

How to deal with the shoulder pain

If the individual starts to experience the initial signs of shoulder pain while playing tennis, it is recommended to perform exercises that strengthen the rotator cuff muscles.

Rotator cuff training can be included into the toning exercises such as:

  • Holding a resistance band with the palms facing upwards and the upper and lower arm at 90 degrees with the elbows tucked in towards the torso.
  • Lying on the side with a lightweight hand weight (usually 2-5 lbs.) with the upper arm tucked to the torso while the lower arm is flexed and facing forward.

More Information / Disclaimer

The information posted on this page on shoulder pain after playing tennis is for learning purposes only. Learn to recognize and manage this joint issue by taking a standard first aid course with Kelowna First Aid.