Today, we have a guest article for you from our good friends ATLPhysio – one of the internet’s leading online physiotherapy resources!
Tennis elbow is classed as an over-use or strain injury causing pain and discomfort to the outside of the elbow.
Medically it is known as lateral epicondylitis.
SYMPTOMS OF TENNIS ELBOW FOR TENNIS PLAYERS
Pain on the outside of the elbow:
In tennis hitting backhand strokes can put enormous tension and stress on the muscles in the forearm and this causes the extensor tendon to become inflamed.
You can get tennis elbow from the wrong sized grip, playing with a different racquet or one that is a different size or balance.
Not everyone who plays tennis gets tennis elbow and other sports and activities can start tennis elbow.
WHY IS IT SO PAINFUL?
Tennis Elbow starts with an ache in the forearm and elbow, the ache in time changes to a pain.
Knocking the elbow can cause severe pain and swelling to the outside of the elbow.
Just by lifting a cup or even holding the pencil can cause pain.
Most active daily living skills like dressing eating and driving makes the elbow ache more.
After several weeks of this forearm ache and increasing pain normally sends people to seek professional help or medical advice.
Because the tendon becomes inflamed, the bodies response to help it is to send more blood to the tendon, the extra blood contains salt which in turn aggravates the nerves in the tendon which unfortunately causes pain.
HOW LONG CAN IT LAST?
Without treatment it may last for 6 months to 2 years, that is why we are giving you this advice.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Chronic conditions like tennis elbow have plagued the surgeons, specialists, and therapists alike to treat them successfully.
So, arm yourself with this advice as it may aid to your recovery!
First, let us start with modifying or avoiding activities that make it hurt.
Do things with your palm and thumb facing upwards. Use the other hand more to take the strain off the affected elbow.
Step 1: REST!
Yes, let us start with this to begin with, the good old effective R.I.C.E!
Like all sports people the one word they hate to hear. REST.
Step 2: ICE. Yes, ICE it!
We do not want you to freeze it we want to cool the inflammation down.
The sooner you apply the ice the better the chances of easing the pain. 15 minutes 3 times a day for ten days.
Get a gel pack one that freezes and can also be used warm (which you can use later) but not in the early days. Keep heat OFF! For now.
STEP 3: Compression
In the early days tubi-grip was used. Now you can purchase compression sleeves and Kinesio-tape.
Step 4: Elevation
Elevation is not needed in tennis elbow.
Other Ways To Ease Tennis Elbow
ELBOW BRACES and STRAPS can be useful if you want to keep playing.
EXTENSOR STRETCHING. Place your affected arm straight down by your side, twist the whole arm inwards so the palm is facing out, then cock the wrist up, with your other hand gently press the wrist up just a little and hold the stretch for 30 seconds.
If you cannot hold the stretch for 30 seconds you are pressing too hard.
Relax for 5 seconds and repeat the stretch 6 times twice a day.
For as long as it takes to start easing.
WRIST SPLINT. Wearing a wrist splint at night may help taking stress off the tendon.
ECCENTRIC EXERCISES. Here is one great exercise to do.
Bend the affected elbow lifting the hand towards the same shoulder with the palm facing forwards.
Now cock the wrist backwards, then place a bottle or can into the hand. Then slowly lower the arm so it is straight then slowly dropping the wrist (slowly to 10 seconds)
Release the bottle or can into the other hand, repeat this exercise 15 times twice a day.
MEDICATIONS. Seek medical help from GP, Doctor, or pharmacist for pain killers.
GELS AND CREAMS. Anti-inflammatory gels or creams rubbed into the painful area. Cold freeze sprays may offer some relief.
REMEMBER: No specific treatment has been found to give better results than the other.