Picture the scene.
The sun is out, you have opened a fresh tin of tennis balls and you are about to step on court and enjoy a game.
Tennis really is irresistable sometimes, so much so that you can find yourself playing for hours and hours on end, day after day, week after week.
However, as the old adage says, you really can have too much of a good thing sometimes.
A lot of the repetitive movements that tennis has you making can easily lead to injuries.
These are often in your knees, back or even arms. One of the most common injuries that tennis players face is the infamous tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow is a very common racket sport related injury that plagues many tennis players in particular across the globe.
It can be so painful that it can actually stop you playing the sport you love so much.
Whilst there are some treatments that help to reduce the pain associated with tennis elbow, oftentimes you may be better off resting.
However, there are some rackets that can actually reduce the pain that you may be experiencing, so you can still play tennis whilst managing pain.
With that being said, we will explore exactly what tennis elbow is and which are the best rackets for managing tennis elbow!
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a condition caused by repetitive use of the elbow joint that produces pain on the outside of your arm.
You may feel pain in the muscles surrounding your elbow joint and the severity of this pain may differ from person to person and on how bad a case of tennis elbow you have.
Effectively, over use of the muscles and tendons in your arm as it is straightened can cause tennis elbow.
This causes inflammation in the elbow area and progressively the pain can worsen over time and with consistent over use.
Funnily enough, tennis elbow is now always caused by playing tennis.
Of course playing tennis is a leading cause of tennis elbow as the constant repetitive twisting, straightening and shortening of the arm muscles can place excessive amounts of strain on the elbow joint and surrounding muscles.
However, you can also develop tennis elbow through other racket sports such as badminton or squash, activities such as painting and decorating, using gardening tools, playing musical instruments or even excessive typing!
So, that being said tennis elbow can actually stem from a range of different activities that you may well be partaking in on a weekly or even daily basis.
This makes developing the condition very common and may not necessarily come just from playing too much tennis!
With all this in mind, it is important to consider that you are going to want an arm friendly racket if you are playing tennis whilst experiencing pain from tennis elbow.
The reason for this is that you will want to put as little excess strain on your arm as possible, reduce the vibrations that will go through your arm and play with as big of a sweet spot as possible.
All of these factors will help to reduce the pain you experience when playing tennis with tennis elbow, whilst improving your enjoyment of the sport at the same time!
What to Look for When Buying a Tennis Racket
As mentioned above, there are a few significant factors you need to consider when looking to buy a new racket to compensate for the pain you are experiencing from tennis elbow.
Using an arm friendly, flexible rackets will help absorb some of the vibrations from the ball so your arm doesn’t have to.
A more flexible racket will move more on impact with the ball, meaning it will feel more comfortable as you hit.
Racket stiffness is usually denoted on the racket iself, so opting for a lower stiffness rating of around 60 and below will give you a more plush feel.
Generally speaking a lighter tennis racket will require less strength to swing it than a heavier racket.
That’s why the most arm friendly tennis rackets tend to be lighter weight, for example under 300g, as less effort and strain needs to be placed on the arm in order to swing the racket and hit a deep and powerful shot.
Most of these rackets are loaded with vibration dampening technology in order to help the racket feel more solid despite the lack of weight, so these types of rackets are specifically designed with arm friendliness in mind!
Using a racket with a larger head size significantly increases the sweet spot on the string bed.
Having a larger sweet spot means you will be able to hit the ball in the more comfortable, powerful and effortless part of the string bed more of the time.
In essence, you don’t need to have as precise timing and pin-point accuracy to still hit the ball with power and depth when playing with a larger headed racket.
Many tennis rackets will feature innovative technology which helps to improve the feel, power, control, spin and comfort of a tennis racket.
However, some of these traits can only exist in limited forms in the same racket.
For example, an ultimate control racket will tend to have a smaller head size, higher weight and a stiffer frame so you get the most clean and crisp contact on the ball.
Conversely, a very powerful racket will tend to have a much larger head size, be more flexible and be lighter to swing, so you can hit the ball with as big of a sweet spot as possible.
As far as tennis elbow goes, you will be after the most arm friendly tennis racket you can find, so you can relieve some of the stress and tension that is being placed on the elbow joint and surrounding muscles.
Therefore, opting for a more powerful racket with a larger sweet spot that will reduce the amount of effort you need to put into your shots should help to ease the stress on your affected area.
These strings tend to flex more and are made from softer materials than polyester or kevlar strings, so will feel more supple and pliant as you hit with them.
Also, stringing your racket at a lower tension helps to create more of a trampoline effect from your string bed.
This effectively slingshots the ball off of the strings and over the other side of the net more so than a stiff, tight string bed.
Therefore, using a softer string strung at a lower tension in your racket will also help to relieve the pain of your tennis elbow.
Best Tennis Rackets for Tennis Elbow
Picking the best racket for you is a difficult process at the best of times, let alone if you are suffering from tennis elbow!
However, we want to provide a good starting point of appropriate rackets that will help relieve some of the stress from your arm and help you step back on to the court sooner than you otherwise would.
So, with that being said here is a list of some of our favourite tennis rackets to play with if you have tennis elbow!
Head Graphene 360+ Extreme PWR
This is one of the lightest rackets out there and with a massive 115sq in. head size it is also one of the most forgiving!
The Head Graphene 360+ Extreme PWR is a great choice for those with tennis elbow, as it has a huge sweet spot that you will find easy to hit!
The thick 29mm beam combined with new vibration dampening technology and comfortable construction makes this one of the most arm friendly rackets out there at the moment.
Well worth a try if you are suffering from tennis elbow!
Volkl V-Cell 4
This innovative offering from Volkl has arm friendly cushioning technology built in to the grip of the racket, helping you to feel more confident as you strike the ball.
This racket features an open 16×19 string pattern, meaning you will be able to generate more spin with this racket and push your opponents back in the court.
The racket also comes with catapult springs on each side of the frame’s grommet, which helps you generate extra pop from the 105sq in. racket head.
Head Graphene 360+ Speed PWR
Another Head PWR contender for the best tennis racket for tennis elbow is the Graphene 360+ Speed.
A slightly heavier racket than its Extreme counterpart, the Speed PWR racket comes with a similarly large racket head and an extended length that will help you command more leverage over the ball.
This will also help with power generation and marginally improve your reach.
This flexible racket is an ideal option for players looking to generate easy power and retain a decent feel from a comfortable racket.
ProKennex Ki Black Ace
Weighing in at 300g unstrung it is not an ultra light racket by any stretch of the imagination.
Yet its 55 stiffness rating makes it an outstanding choice for the player who is suffering from tennis elbow, but is still physically strong and technically proficient enough to wield a heavier racket.
The racket features ProKennex’s famous dynamic mass technology that actually shifts the mass of the racket to different places depending on the part of the swing you are at.
This combined with their comfort handle technology make for a dampened feel that will reduce excess vibrations from transmitting through your arm.
Wilson Clash 100
The Wilson Clash range of rackets are innovative from the ground up.
They feature Wilson’s brand new FreeFlex and StableSmart technologies that offer a unique blend of power, comfort and control in an easy to use package.
This is something that many manufacturers have claimed to offer over the years but none have come as close as Wilson has with the Clash 100.
This racket again is aimed at the intermediate or improver player, featuring a 100sq in. head size and a 295g unstrung weight, it sits in the middle of the road as far as power and control are concerned.
However, the 55 stiffness rating is really what sets the Clash apart from a lot of its competitors.
This flexible frame allows for optimum comfort and a plush feel on the ball, allowing you to swing freely through your shots without having to worry about an off centre strike causing pain in your arm.
However, the new technology that Wilson has introduced into the Clash range means the racket remains stable throughout contact.
Overall, if you are looking for an appropriate racket to use when you are suffering from tennis elbow, you can start by trying out some of the models we have recommended.
These rackets will help you hit the ball with less effort, provide more shock absorption and offer more comfort compared to the more conventional models in their respective product ranges.
Therefore, by using one of these rackets that we recommend, you should be able to play tennis more often and with less pain due to their specific arm friendly characteristics.