With the gradual lifting of social distancing measures, many tennis courts are now re-opening to the public. If you’re amongst those who can’t wait to get back, this is a newsworthy celebration. But before you grab those racquets, injury is a very real threat after time off the court. Luckily, there is a simple solution to tennis elbow which can help you stay injury-free.
What is tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow is a common injury that plagues tennis players. It is the result of tendonitis (or inflammation) in the tendon connecting the elbow joint and the forearm muscles that extend the wrist and fingers. If you use this muscle and joint a lot (e.g. during tennis), your tendon can get irritated and inflamed.
Does it only occur because of tennis?
But how and why does the inflammation occur? Well, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, performing a particular motion frequently can weaken a stabilizing muscle of your wrist, therefore causing microscopic tears in the tendon that connects to the bony bump on the outside of your elbow. These microscopic tears are the cause of pain and inflammation.
Something worthy of mention is that people who’ve never picked up a tennis racket before in their lives can also experience the condition. That’s because tennis elbow is essentially caused by overuse. Thereby, explaining why tennis elbow is particularly common among plumbers, carpenters, chefs, and others whose professions involve lots of arm and wrist movement. Truth is, even simple (but repetitive) computer work can lead to tennis elbow.
How do I know I have tennis elbow?
If you have tennis elbow, it’ll be pretty obvious–the outside of your elbow will feel tender, weak, sore, and maybe even hot and swollen. You might also notice a reduction in your grip strength, as well as an increase in pain when you hold onto something (e.g. your racquet or even just shaking someone’s hand).
To read more on diagnosing your elbow pain, try: Tennis Elbow Diagnosis
Is tennis elbow preventable?
As you can imagine, elbow pain can be annoying. Not to mention, uncomfortable–so you’d want to do everything you can in your capacity to prevent tennis elbow from occurring in the first place. And here are a few pointers on how you can do just that:
Ease back into play: It may take a number of weeks to build your strength back up and return to the form and technique you once possessed. You don’t want to go ‘too fast and furious,’ and end up with tennis elbow!
Do forearm exercises: Perform simple wrist flexion and extension exercises which target the muscles in your forearms; doing so ensures that they’re strong enough to withstand the stress you place on them through repetitive motions.
Use proper form and technique: This is crucial to avoid over-using the wrong muscle groups; the sloppier your form, the higher your chances of bringing on tennis elbow. Consider hiring a professional coach if you can.
Consider an elbow brace: If you notice some signs of soreness around your elbow, consider trying an elbow brace to prevent the pain from worsening and developing into a full-on tennis elbow. An elbow brace can help reduce the stress on your muscles and dissipate the pain throughout your forearm.
Take breaks: Remember how tennis elbow is caused by overuse? To prevent overuse, make sure you take frequent breaks during matches!
An elbow brace could be the simple solution
Medical braces like the EpiTrain, EpiPoint and Sports Elbow Strap aim to reduce the stress on the muscle at the base of the joint and reduce pain. They are often instrumental in the primary stage of treatment to shield and support the elbow by targeting the tendons that are affected by Golfer’s Elbow and Tennis Elbow.
Wearing a Bauerfeind elbow brace can also minimise your chances of injury by providing enhanced stability and healthy proprioception. With regular use of a strap, patients can transition to physiotherapy faster.
Bauerfeind products are developed at our innovation and manufacturing facility in Zeulenroda, Germany. Based on years of scientific research, our award-winning braces and support garments are highly recommended by medical professionals and athletes worldwide.
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