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How to Tackle Tennis Elbow

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is the swelling or tearing of the tendons that bend your wrist. With this, the muscles and tendons become sore from the excessive strain, causing pain and discomfort on the outer part of the elbow. Despite its name, tennis elbow can affect anyone, not just tennis players.

Whether you play tennis, or spend long hours typing on a computer, understanding and recognizing tennis elbow, its prevention, and treatment can help you alleviate pain and get back to your daily activities pain-free. In this blog, we’ll talk about the common causes and what you can do to prevent tennis elbow.

Andrew treating client in gym
Common Causes of Tennis Elbow

Repetitive movements: Movements that involve repetitive motions with the forearm and wrist can strain and cause soreness to the tendons over time. Doing things such as gripping with your wrist and hands, lifting in the same motion for a long period of time, or swinging a tennis racket, are all examples of movements that might cause strain to your elbow and forearm.

Overuse: Putting excessive stress and overworking your forearm can lead to this condition. This is why rest and recovery are essential, whether you’re playing a sport or working on your computer. Give yourself time to rest and stretch your arms to avoid overusing your elbow and arm.

Poor Technique: Using improper form while doing activities that involve the forearm and wrist can contribute to the development of this condition. For example, holding gym equipment wrong or swinging your tennis racket incorrectly can lead to straining your forearm.

Preventing Tennis Elbow

There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of developing tennis elbow.

Proper technique: When you’re playing a sport or lifting something up that might be strenuous to your elbow and arm, it’s crucial to use proper technique and form to minimize strain on your arm.

Strengthening exercises: Specific exercises, such as the ones above, can help prevent injury. Performing exercises and stretches that target your forearm muscles are beneficial in strengthening your arm overall.

Rest and recovery: As stated before, rest and recovery is important in preventing this condition. Overusing and overworking your arm can cause strain, discomfort, and pain which can development into this condition. It’s essential to give yourself rest if you do repetitive movements throughout the day.

Exercises for Tennis Elbow

Here are some common exercises that can help tennis elbow — these exercises may be suggested for rehabilitation. Make sure to consult with your doctor or healthcare professional before trying out these exercises.

1. Wrist flexor and extensor stretch

Extend your arm in front of you with your palm up (flexor) or down (extensor). Bend your wrist, with your hand pointing towards the floor. With your other hand, gently bend your wrist further until you feel a mild to moderate stretch in your forearm. Hold for 15 to 30 seconds, and repeat 2 to 4 times.

2. Wrist curls

Place your forearm on a surface with your hand hanging out on the edge, palm up. Place a 0.5 to 1 kilogram weight in your hand. Slowly raise and lower the weight while keeping your forearm on the surface. Repeat this exercise 8-12 times. Repeat with your hand facing down the floor.

3. Bicep curls

Start by sitting and leaning forward with your legs slightly spread out. Place one elbow on the same side thigh while the other hand is on the other thigh. With a weight, slowly curl the weight up and toward your chest. Repeat this exercise 8-12 times.

Tennis elbow is a common condition that can impact your daily life, but having the right knowledge and ensuring preventative measures, you can reduce your risk and manage the pain effectively. By taking care of your body and managing your condition, you can get back to enjoying the things you love pain-free.

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