Causes, Treatments, Preventions
Whether you're looking for a cause, a prevention, a treatment or a cure for your tennis elbow, you'll find what you're looking for here.
What Is It?
According to Gerard G Adler, MD, and Leader of the Aurora Sports Medicine Institute, as well as being an avid tennis player, "tennis elbow is localized pain over the bony prominence called the lateral epicondylitis."
It is a common "tendinitis" that affects participants of racquet sports. It also affects people who perform repetitive wrist extension (wrist bent away from palm) and forearm rotation.
What Is the Cause?
Any sort of repetitive stress on the muscles connected to the lateral epicondyle can cause tennis elbow. Too much stress on these muscles can lead to microtearing, causing pain that is usually centralized in the muscles' origin in the outer elbow.
What is the Best Treatment?
Traditional treatment of tennis elbow includes modification of exercise, use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like
ibuprofen, ice treatment and total rest.
Alternative treatments include acupuncture, splinting and various types of herbal remedy for tennis elbow.
But before any treatment, identifying the cause of the problem is the obvious priority.
The first thing to do, therefore, is have a competent coach evaluate your game, particularly your backhand, as this is the stroke mostly responsible for tennis elbow pain. If your technique is poor, your coach will guide you in making the necessary changes.
Be warned, though, that changing the poor technique habits of a lifetime will not be a piece of cake; it will require real persistence and determination. However, what stronger motivation can there be when faced with the alternative of excruciating pain or, worse still, not playing at all?
If your doctor or physical therapist has given you the all clear to play, it is essential that you do everything possible to alleviate any discomfort. Make sure you incorporate a good stretch into your warm-up routine. Flexing your wrist (towards the palm) while keeping your elbow straight is a good one. As muscles stretch more when they are warm, and are therefore less prone to injury, it is a good idea to wear an elbow brace or sleeve.
There are any number of high quality products on the market, but none better than the elbow wrap found at Cold One Inc. , whose USTA approved and recommended wraps are "the Gold Standard for controlling elbow pain and swelling from over-exertion, stressed elbows, elbow sprains, and injuries to the elbow."
Is Your Tennis Equipment the Problem?
If it's not your technique, chances are that your equipment is the problem. The more "yes's" you give to the questions in the following checklist, the greater the chances that your equipment is to blame.
Do you? . . .
- . . . use a racquet that's light, but head-heavy?
- . . . use a racquet with a very small - or very large - grip?
- . . . use a racquet that's exceptionally stiff?
- . . . have your racquets strung exceptionally tightly?
- . . . use strings that are hard and unforgiving?
- . . . use a racquet with a small sweet spot?
- . . . forget to use a vibration dampener?
- . . . use heavy balls?
If you answered "yes" to some of the above questions, it's likely that you could derive tremendous benefit from a change in equipment.
Your coach or tennis equipment supplier will be able to advise you on the most arm friendly racquets; however, as a seven-day-a-week, tennis-elbow-free player myself, I'm extremely conscious of playing with an arm and elbow-friendly racquet. Which is why I'm now playing with the Prince's 03 Speedport Red, a sensational racquet with a huge, vibration-free sweetspot.
When you combine the sweetspot (tests have shown it to be 59% larger than on previous models) with the racquet's inbuilt, innovative dampening system, the Prince 03 Speedport Red is a great racquet for any level of player whois looking for a silky-smooth elbow-friendly racquet.
But if you're still having problems with your elbow, or anything else, try the incredible range of products at Cold One Inc., whose compression therapy wraps reduce pain and stop swelling of soft tissue injuries caused by sports injury, sprains, muscle tears and post surgical procedures. Their elbow wrap is USTA approved and recommended.
The Premier Cold Compression