Prehab - An Ounce of Prevention is Worth a Pound of Cure


Prehab. Just a catchy word or is there more to it?

The term prehabilitation was originally applied to patients awaiting orthopedic surgery.

The thought is that the fitter and stronger the patient is before surgery, the quicker they will recover in the post-surgical period.  With healthcare costs soaring, patients are often on a high deductible plan and paying an expensive fee for medical or therapy visits.  A proactive mindset is becoming more necessary because it saves money in the long run.  Once thought to be a luxury,  prehabilitation is now becoming the standard of care.  

I have had personal experience with adding a “p” to rehabilitation.

Two years ago, I started playing tennis again after taking ten plus years off to raise four lively (and lovely) kids. I was so excited to be back on the court and felt invigorated by the fast progress I was making.  In the back of my head, Jiminy Cricket kept whispering “it’s too much too soon”.  I had all of the knowledge I needed to work on my mobility and core strength, yet I kept choosing to walk past the gym to go smack more tennis balls instead.  As a result, I suffered a serious back injury that took me out of the game for nine months.  I was miserable but mostly disappointed in myself because I knew better.

Once I recovered, I made a vow take prevention seriously.  I chose to strengthen my body through pilates before stepping onto the court.  I have never felt stronger and I continue to make core strengthening a priority over hitting balls.  It’s paying off!  Because my stabilizer muscles are strong, I am able to hit the ball harder and most importantly, I am pain-free.

I encourage you to make an appointment with a physical therapist who can identify areas of movement deficiencies and build a strengthening program specific to your body and your sport.  A long-distance runner, for example, may be able to run fifteen miles a day yet fail a strength test for the gluteus medius.  The gluteus medius is one of the important stabilizer muscles in the hip and serves to stabilize the pelvis during walking and running.  A weak gluteus medius will lead to injuries in the ankle, knee and hip region.  Once identified, a therapist will progress the hip stabilizer program from exercises in supine to exercises in standing and lastly functional exercises on one leg to emulate locomotion.  

My personal experience with injuries has persuaded me to make prevention one of the main objectives when working with athletes at “Lizl Kotz Performance Center”.

The world of prehabilitation for a tennis player is extensive and very exciting.  The good news is that prehab exercises are specific, not time-consuming and can often be done courtside. It will keep you out of the doctor’s office and on the court.

Lizl Kotz
| Physical Therapist I Certified Tennis Performance Specialist

Hilary KemptnerInjuries