Objectives: The influence of regular and intense practice of an asymmetric sport such as tennis on nerves in the elbow region was examined.
Methods: The study included 21 male elite tennis players with a mean (SD) age of 27.5 (1.7) years and 21 male non-active controls aged 26.4 (1.9) years. Anthropometric measurements (height, weight, limb length, and perimeters of arm and forearm) were determined for each subject, and range of motion assessment and radiographic examination carried out. Standard nerve conduction techniques using constant measured distances were applied to evaluate the median, ulnar, and radial nerves in the dominant and non-dominant limb of each individual.
Results: The sensory and motor conduction velocities of the radial nerve and the sensory conduction velocity of the ulnar nerve were significantly delayed in the dominant arms of tennis players compared with their non-dominant arms and normal subjects. There were no statistical differences in the latencies, conduction velocities, or amplitudes of the median motor and sensory nerves between controls and tennis players in either the dominant or non-dominant arms. However, the range of motion of the upper extremity was significantly increased in tennis players when compared with control subjects. Tennis players were taller and heavier than control subjects and their dominant upper limb lengths were longer, and arm and forearm circumferences greater, than those of the control subjects.
Conclusions: Many of the asymptomatic tennis players with abnormal nerve conduction tests in the present study may have presymptomatic or asymptomatic neuropathy similar to subclinical entrapment nerve neuropathy.
- nerve conduction
- tennis players
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Conflict of interest: none declared.
This study was presented at the “2nd European Congress of Sport Traumatology” which was held in Monaco, May 1–3, 2003.