Serve up a safe day on the tennis court

While tennis can provide an enjoyable and vigorous workout, emulating a favorite tennis star on the court can lead to serious injury. Each year, thousands land in hospital emergency rooms and doctor offices with tennis injuries ranging from broken bones to tendonitis.

Many tennis-related injuries can be avoided. The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons offers the following useful tips to help keep game, set and match safe and satisfying.

- Take time to warm up and stretch. Jumping jacks, stationary cycling or running in place for 3 to 5 minutes is recommended. Following that, perform a series of slow, gentle stretches, holding each for about 30 seconds.

- Feet typically take a pounding during a tennis game, so avoid, if possible, playing on hard courts, particularly those made of cement or asphalt. If a softer surface court is not an option, wear heel inserts in shoes to help absorb the shock. Tennis shoes should provide good support to prevent ankle injuries.

- Drying your racket handle can help prevent blisters on your hands.

- Bend your knees and raise your heels when executing a serve or overhead smash. This can help balance the upper body weight and prevent extra pressure on the back.

- Don't come down on the ball of your foot. This can result in an Achilles tendon injury.

- Have a first-aid plan in place to deal with minor injuries, such as small cuts, bruises, strains or sprains. In addition, have a plan to reach a hospital if a more serious injury occurs, such as concussions, dislocations or fractures.