Tackling the Tennis Elbow Serve
Tennis elbow is the result of a particular kind of repetitive
movement affecting the outer elbow. But it isn’t something
only tennis players deal with.
Tennis elbow is basically pain in the outer elbow
accompanied by tenderness and soreness. It is the result of
strain or overuse of the elbow.
Tennis is not the only cause of this condition. It came to be
known as “tennis elbow” since this condition is caused by
the kind of repetitive movements commonly performed
while playing tennis. Repetitive movements of the kind
performed in golf result in golfer’s elbow which is pain in
the inside of the elbow.
More about Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow strikes the region where the forearm tendons
and muscles get attached to the bony region on the outside
of the elbow called lateral epicondyle. This condition is
also called lateral epicondylitis or epicondylosis. Tennis
elbow is a tear in the tendon in this region of the elbow.
This results not only in outer elbow pain, but also wrist
weakness, making it difficult to shake hands or open door
handles. Wrist pain could also occur when extending the
arm or reaching out for something, and increases when
performing tasks involving forceful wrist movement such
as opening a jar or brushing teeth.
Diagnosing Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow could be diagnosed by various methods.
Firstly the doctor listens to the patient’s description of the
symptoms before conducting some simple manual tests.
One of these is the resisted wrist extension procedure
where the patient will be asked to extend the wrist or bend
it back against the doctor’s or therapist’s physical restraint.
If it is painful, it could be an indication of tennis elbow.
Another procedure is palpating the region around the outer
elbow which helps the doctor to assess the presence of
tenderness, pain or muscle tension. The therapist may also
ask the patient to extend the middle finger as he applies
Other scans may be conducted to rule out other issues since
outer elbow pain could be caused by other factors as well.
X-rays are performed to rule out arthritis or fracture. MRI
scans can help detect the presence of swelling or excess
fluid in the outer elbow where it joins the forearm bone.
Getting Tennis Elbow Treated
Treatment options are mostly non-surgical and include
physical therapy, anti-inflammatory gels to be applied on
the region of the pain, and NSAIDs. Cortisone gels and
injections are also sometimes used depending on the overall
physical health and medical history. The aim of the
treatment is to reduce the pain, inflammation and physical
stress faced by the injury, and also to facilitate better
The most important treatment is obviously resting from
activity, and this does not apply to tennis players alone. Try
to avoid gripping any object tightly, and opening doors that
are heavy. Wearing a tennis elbow brace is very useful as it
protects the elbow from further injury. The brace helps
reduce the strain on the hurting part by redirecting the
forces exerted through the tendon. A heat retainer is crucial
in the initial stages of the injury and can stimulate the blood
flow, facilitating better healing.
Effectiveness of Cold Therapy
Something else that must be done in the initial one or two
days is applying cold therapy. This should be done before
the aforementioned procedures, even before wearing a heat
retainer. While the latter stimulates blood flow, cold can
help bring down the swelling which enables the heat
retainer to perform its job of improving blood flow better.
A multispecialty healthcare center will give you the right
cold therapy product which would provide better results.
Physical therapy will facilitate better rehabilitation. As the
pain keeps subsiding during treatment, stretching exercises
must be started gradually. They can be done gently during
the treatment process when the condition is acute –
stretches can be held for around 15 seconds at this stage
and for nearly 40 seconds in the later rehabilitation stage.
Along with the stretching, strengthening exercises should
also be carried out a few days following the stretching
exercises. These exercises must only be performed if your
elbow does not hurt. If it hurts, you must wait for a few
more days for the pain to subside.
Preventing Tennis Elbow
Once you’ve been healed from your tennis elbow
condition, you need to take preventive measures so that it
does not occur again. The most basic precaution to keep in
mind at this stage is to not overuse your elbow. It is
important not to start heavy activities before your body
recovers fully. Recollect which particular action caused the
pain and tennis elbow injury in the first place and try to
avoid the action or do it a better way. If you’re a tennis
player, discuss with your coach and improve upon your
strokes. You must also ensure that you’re using the right
Tips for Amateur Tennis Players
If you are an amateur tennis player, the following tips could
help you prevent tennis elbow.
• Practice and master the right technique to return the
ball. It is important to realize that a tennis ball makes
contact with the racket at a speed of more than 80
miles an hour, and if you use the wrong technique all
that force will get focused directly on the outer elbow.
This could be all it takes for injury to set in.
• Secondly, a poor backhand stroke is one of the other
major causes of tennis elbow. The wrist should not be
bent while hitting the ball. This could increase the risk
of injury. Keeping the wrist firm ensures that the
energy released by the ball approaching at high speed
is dispersed all through the arm rather than being
focused on the outer elbow.
• To prevent tennis elbow in the final stages of your
rehabilitation, it is better to wear a brace which helps
to disperse the forces involved in hitting the ball all
through the forearm.
• Amateur tennis players returning from a tennis elbow
injury should remember to return to regular play
gradually to prevent the injury from getting worse.
Stretching and strengthening exercises must be
continued even after the return to full fitness.
Professional tennis players are well trained and usually do
not succumb easily to tennis elbow. But amateurs and the
others out there involved in their daily activities are
susceptible. The customized and effective treatment
provided by an advanced and multispecialty healthcare
center could go a long way in ensuring pleasant and quicker
relief from tennis elbow.
Posted by HealthQuest.com