Tennis elbow is a painful condition many tennis players encounter. Even amateur and casual tennis players suffer from tennis elbow at some point in their careers. Players over 35 are at a heightened risk of this injury. Pain associated with tennis elbow generally grows outside the elbow.
Tennis elbow is caused by the overuse of tendons in the elbow. It’s usually caused by repetitive motions of wrist and the arm. In addition to the elbow, pain can also spread to the forearm and the wrist. The problem is also common among plumbers, painters, carpenters, cooks and construction workers as their jobs involve repetitive movement of the arm, elbow or the wrist.
A common misconception among tennis players is that using a vibration dampener on their racquets will reduce chances of getting tennis elbow. The truth is that the vibration dampeners don’t reduce vibrations enough to reduce the chance of injuries such as tennis elbow.
The good news is that in most cases, the pain associated with tennis elbow goes away if you take these simple common-sense steps.
Short break from the game: The break could be anywhere from a few weeks to several months depending on the time needed for the tendons to heal.
Ice: Ice the elbow for 20 to 30 minutes multiple times per day until the pain is reduced or gone
Work with a physiotherapist: Stretch and strengthen the muscles by working with a physiotherapist.
Anti- inflammatory drugs: Taking Aspirin or Ibuprofen occasionally helps deal with pain. Don’t overdo this as it can cause side effects such as bleeding and ulcers.
Steroid Injections: Steroid injections helps temporarily relieve pain.
If pain persists, see a doctor. The doctor may recommend an ultrasound or MRI.
If the pain goes away with these steps, return slowly to former level of tennis activity slowly.
- Take the time to warm up and stretch before you hit the courts.
- Work with a certified tennis coach to improve the swing on your strokes to avoid overworking the elbow.
- Use arm-friendly tennis racquets. Choose a stiff racquet with loose strings.
Some players will find that they are unable to reach their prior activity level or that they need to adjust their game to continue playing. Adjusting your game can be frustrating but it’s worth it in the long run.