A recent experiment by a team of researchers from the University of Sydney explored upper limb tennis injuries and their association with the forehand stroke technique used by players. The wearable technology developed was equipped with an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU) that allowed in-depth analysis of forearm muscle activity, grip strength and impact transfer - components that have been linked to chronic injuries such as elbow tendinopathy.
Wearable devices utilizing IMU sensors provide insight into racquet dynamics under real-world conditions. The study differentiated between experienced and recreational tennis players, revealing that while grip strength remained consistent across different levels of rotation, experienced players exhibited increased impact transfer to the wrist and elbow when performing topspin strokes. Interestingly, recreational players demonstrated higher extensor activity, which may increase their risk of elbow tendinopathy.
Notably, the IMU is critical for capturing small differences in racquet movement and direction, which facilitates injury prevention. The team's data supports precise adjustments to player technique to optimize performance and reduce the risk of injury. As IMUs advance, their accuracy and application may expand, making them an important tool for athletes and engineers.