Everything A Tennis Player Needs To Know About Tennis Elbow

tennis elbow guide

Introduction

Tennis elbow strikes a wide variety of demographics, from young teenagers to old retirees.

You can be any age–a high school tennis player, an older factory worker or retiree who plays racquetball or golf — and it hits you: all these characters have the potential for suffering from a condition called “tennis elbow.”

The level of media popularity of tennis is fueled by stories of rivalries and the construction of media entities along with the world full of content built around it. 

But unlike team sports, tennis is primarily a sport played by a very broad cross-section of the world population and one of the few sports that allows participation at every level and is a huge age range – from young childhood (toddlers) to the fourth age. 

This age range creates an interesting situation in itself of injuries at all ages, with varying musculoskeletal conditions but with similar injury mechanics. The level of immaturity and fatigue of the material all affect the types and severity of the injuries. 

The nature of tennis, which involves many components of physical fitness and is characterized by unexpected situations over a long and unpredictable time, causes the activation of all components of fitness, and of course, lack of readiness will result in injuries.

Factors that impact Tennis Elbow

Consider these factors that might impact the development of tennis elbow while playing tennis.

What is bestNotes
Grip sizeA larger grip is better.Larger grip = less effort to hold the handle of the racquet = less strain on the forearm’s muscles.
String tensionLower tension.Lower tension will lead to less effort by you to try and generate more power, because it naturally will come from the trampoline effect of the strings.
How tight to hold the gripBe relaxed, muscles should be free and not tight when you hold the racquet.This is even more important if you want to be accurate with your shots and have the correct technique.
Type of courtClay courts and slower surfaces.Clay courts and slower bouncing surfaces will decrease the ball speed. Which on one side might force you to generate pace on your own, however, when you receive a ball, it will come at you with less force.
Type of tennis ballsNew.New tennis balls are known to be easier to hit with – that is why they get changed often in a tennis match. And they require less power to move.
Swinging techniquesHold the racquet correctly, with the correct technique, and swing freely with no tension on your arm, wrist, and fingers.You should feel the racquet flow within the air when you swing it. Not trying too much to activate your muscles to correct the swing.
The racquet head sizeA head size with 100 sq inches or less.Bigger head sizes usually mean more weight, also these frames tend to put a strain on the arm. 100 sq inch or fewer frames are more flexible and balanced comfortably.
The weight of the racquet(including strings)Less than 320 gramsStrings account for about 5-6 grams of your racquet weight, so you should pick a racquet that weighs around 310 or less unstrung.
tennis elbow symptoms

What Is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is an injury that is most popular, especially in weekend players, and is related to several factors – poor style in the back of the hand, especially while the elbow is in front of the palm, too heavyweight of a racquet, the thickness of the racquet handle (too big or too small), stretched or old strings Too and a sudden game load, playing with heavy balls, wet or in a strong wind, a sudden style change. 

The injury is characterized by sharp pain when hitting the outside of the elbow, which slowly increases to the point of interfering with lifting objects, shaking hands, and even typing or tapping on the computer keyboard.

Tendonitis at the origin of the palm rectifier group from the external elbow protrusion is a medical problem. Sometimes damage to the fetus’ nerve is also involved, which complicates recovery quite a bit. 

The phenomenon is not exclusive to tennis and involves those who are repeatedly active with the palm of their hand – painters, gardeners, computer people, musicians, and more. The duration of the problem can range from several weeks to several months and even longer.

Why It’s Called Tennis Elbow Anyway?

Tennis elbow, also known as elbow tennis, is an injury caused by the overuse of the elbow. Tennis elbow is named after the game tennis. Tennis players (usual beginners) suffer a lot from tennis elbow due to monotonous movement of the elbow while hitting. 

There are many more cases including a tennis game that can form a tennis elbow. Any prolonged adoption of the tendons and muscles that stretch the forearm and palm can cause a tennis elbow. 

As a result of the adoption, repetitive strain is created on the muscles and tendons and inflammation can occur, or tiny tears in the tendons that connect the arm muscles to the bone, on the outside of the elbow. The pain will be in the elbow area, in the forearm area, and will sometimes reach up to the palm.

Statistics About Tennis Elbow

  1. The incidence of injury ranges from 1% to 3% among the population, with the incidence being greater among women, probably due to their employment in jobs with a component of repeated actions.
  2. Only 5% of the cases of tennis elbow is linked to playing tennis among the total count.
  3. Usually, the tennis elbow will appear in the dominant hand and the injury is typical for ages 30 to 55 – i.e. the primary working age.
  4. About 80% of the incidents can be treated with the right training and treatments, while only 4-11% end up needing surgery.

Where do you feel the pain in Tennis Elbow?

The sensation in cases of tennis elbow is mainly pain in the outer part of the elbow.

The pain may even radiate towards the forearm – that is, downwards.

The pain usually worsens gradually after its onset, when in almost all cases there is no traumatic event or some hit in the arm beforehand.

The same pains can be radiated to the outside of the forearm and even to the wrist. There are certain movements that involve the alignment of the wrist upwards, and they can cause the pain to appear in full force. 

This is reflected in the opening and turning of the door handle, the use of a screwdriver in rotary motions, the grip of a hammer, the use of a knife for cutting, and even gripping a cup. 

As the inflammation worsens, so does the intensity of the pain, which can also occur in very simple operations such as using a computer mouse, washing the face, and so on. Another symptom that may appear, which is itself an expression of the pain symptom, is the weakness of the hand.

Does Tennis Elbow happen only to tennis players?

Did you think tennis elbow only affects people who play tennis? Think again. This condition often causes excruciating pain and it actually accounts for less than 5% of all cases! Although the condition is called “tennis elbow”, anyone who uses their arms repeatedly over a day or in favorite activities may be injured by this injury, not just players of tennis.

Despite common belief, you don’t have to give up your favorite hobby or job just because of tennis elbow. As long as you take the necessary steps in care and treatment for it, there’s no reason why we cannot continue playing the sport we love!

Tennis Elbow Symptoms

If you have a pain in the arm that worsens with time, it’s likely tennis elbow. The good news is there are treatments for this condition and they can be very successful if done early on. You’ll want to get some type of diagnosis before deciding whether or not it’s worth trying any treatment options. 

Be sure to note how often you experience these symptoms as well so your doctor can make an accurate assessment of what kind of treatment would work best for you.

Some people who suffer from tennis elbow report having one or more of these additional signs of tennis elbow:

  1. Pain around the bone area of the elbow: When a person experiences pain or tenderness in the bony part of their elbow, it doesn’t always mean they have a tennis elbow. This type of pain can also be caused by other types of injuries such as bruises and is often associated with unknown causes when persistent. If you are experiencing this symptom, it’s possible that you might have developed symptoms from playing too much tennis because while not everyone who develops these kinds to pains has been an avid player at some point, most people do develop them after doing repetitive wrong movements for long periods over time.
  2. Symptoms of tennis elbow include pain when holding an object or squeezing it: The worse the pain gets, the more likely you have this condition. You may experience significant amounts of discomfort if trying to open a jar or door handle because your muscles might be fatigued from overuse at that point in time.
  3. The common symptom of tennis elbow is pain radiating from the forearm when bending the wrist. The most consistent sign of tennis elbow is a dull ache over or around your outer bone in your lower arm (the lateral epicondyle). While this can occur at any age—and especially among those who play heavy-hitting sports like tennis—it’s also often indicative of more serious conditions.
  4. Weak grip on your hands. It’s easy to ignore a weak grip on your hands until you discover that it renders turning the door handle nearly impossible. This is a symptom of tennis elbow. However, when the person cannot turn door handle properly they are prompted to visit their doctor for diagnosis of tennis elbow or something more serious.
  5. A symptom of tennis elbow is arm pain when the wrist is extended. Another common characteristic that patients have with this condition, however, has their arms are slightly bent at all times to prevent further injury and discomfort in both situations. Thus gradually beginning to limit your range of motion.

Symptoms that are believed to be related to tennis elbow (but are not actually)

  1. Pain that jolts you awake. Tennis elbow, while painful in its own right, rarely causes this kind of impact on your sleep patterns.
  2. Tennis elbow is a common condition that can cause pain to continue for more than one week, and there are many other types of conditions which could be causing the same symptoms.
  3. Everyone drops things occasionally, but if you notice that it is happening to you frequently and are struggling with the simple task of turning doorknobs or grabbing objects from surfaces, this could be a sign of other syndromes. Talk to your doctor about it so they can diagnose what’s going on in further detail.

Is Tennis Elbow Painful?

Tennis elbow is quite a painful condition to have. At the beginning, you might not be used to this sort of pain and be disturbed constantly by it. However, over time and over your treatment process, you will get used to the pain, ignoring it and experiencing less pain as a result of healing the muscles around the elbow.

How Long To Heal Tennis Elbow? 

After realizing that you have tennis elbow, your first thought may be: “I won’t be able to play tennis again.” This is not true. Although rehabilitation in a future scenario would make sense, there are ways for us to still do our daily activities with proper techniques and even alleviate pain while we’re at it!

In case of a tennis elbow injury, healing process would require quite a bit of patience. As you will need to go through between a few months to a year. Average healing process lasts between 6 months to a year.

It’s important once injury-free (and perhaps after going through rehab) to consider how you could prevent getting this condition ever again by playing right with correct technique and a good tennis racquet for tennis elbow when you know you’re healed.

Can You Keep Playing Tennis If You Have Tennis Elbow?

A common question that arises around this issue is if people with tennis elbow can play tennis.

Well, sometimes, you have to work or play tennis and can’t rest. This is when rest isn’t practical as it won’t heal the tendon problem immediately on its own.

A professional tennis player may not be able to stop playing the game, but that doesn’t mean they have to endure tremendous pain. 

There are various techniques players can use before, during and after games (before: warm-up exercises; during: ice or heat application; after: massages) which will help alleviate any pain caused by tennis elbow in order for them continue playing their career.

What do tennis players do for tennis elbow?

  1. Take a look at your racket and how you hold it.
  2. Look how tightly you hold the racquet
  3. Try to see if the racquet weight is too heavy for you.
  4. Watch the balance of the tennis racquet, if it is low-balanced then it might put more burden on your forearm which in the long term will affect tennis elbow condition.
  5. Do you know how to hold a tennis racquet? Also, do you now how to grip the racquet for each shot.
  6. Tennis players wear tennis elbow braces around their arms to help with the burden of the pain often.

Is massage good for tennis elbow?

A great solution to relieve the pain you often experience having tennis elbow is massaging the area. 

  1. You can do it be massaging sessions around the exterior forearm muscles for periods of 30 seconds to one minute as many times as you wish.
  2. You can use an electric massager and place it around your arm area to massage the muscles.
  3. You can use toys and rubber-dotted surfaced balls or boards and play your arm around them to press on the muscles and massage them.

What’s the difference between a tennis elbow and a golfer’s elbow?

Tennis elbow describes pain on the outside of the elbow. Sometimes it is just a mild bothersome pain but can reach a significant functional disorder. The pain is not just typical of tennis players, it can happen to anyone. Exacerbates exertion, sometimes more painful in the morning or after work and exertion.

A golf elbow slightly similar to a tennis elbow, describes pain on the inner side of the elbow, where at a bony point called the medial epicondyle are connected the muscles that cause flexion of the wrist and fingers.

Tennis elbow is a type of chronic elbow inflammation. The anatomical structure of the painful area consists of a point of connection of the straightening tendons. These tendons pull up the fingers and wrist upwards. The anatomical structure in the case of the golf elbow is the starting point of the flexor tendons which are more in the inside of the arm.

In both cases the origin of all these tendons is grouped into one point in a relatively limited area on the bone.

A similar but different pathology sports injury occurs in baseball players who throw the ball during the game, and is called Baseball pitcher’s elbow. This injury is associated with abnormal growth (hypertrophy) of the humerus in the area closest to the joint.

What are some tips to avoid tennis elbow?

  1. Look if the equipment you’re using is comfortable and not harassing your arm. Whether it’s the racquet or the strings.
  2. When you hold things, make sure they are in the correct size so you won’t have effort in gripping them.
  3. Always stretch and warm up before you activate your arm muscles, that lesson A every tennis player should acknowledge.
  4. Sometimes you can wear an elbow brace to easen the pain on the arm.
  5. When you feel pain, don’t go against it, listen to your body and rest as much as needed.
  6. Don’t lift heavy weights, until you’re back to normal state.

Tennis Elbow Causes

You should be aware of the possibility that you have tennis elbow if your forearm muscles and tendons feel sore or tight, especially when you grip things.

  1. Engaging in repetitive movement activities

If you work in a job which requires you to put constant burden on your forearm muscles as well as performing continuous repetitive movements with your arms, you are likely to end up having sore elbow muscles and tennis elbow.

  1. Holding objects for a long period of time

Well, that explains why tennis players counter tennis elbow sometimes, holding a racquet for a few hours a day (5% of the cases though). 

Working with your arms in front of you for long periods of time, such as when holding a phone to your ear while talking on the phone, also puts stress on these muscles and tendons that lead to this condition.

  1. Lack of rest for your arms

When you exercise tennis or do a workout daily, you need to give your muscles a rest. Playing or training constantly won’t necessarily lead to better result, believe me. You will be tired, as well as your muscles, they’ll sore up and wear as time goes by, and you will end up having worse conditions like tennis elbow.

Activities often related to tennis elbow

  1. Tennis.
  2. Tatting.
  3. Knitting.
  4. Crocheting.
  5. Painting.
  6. Construction.

Tennis Elbow Stretches

If you have a tennis match coming up, it’s important that you stretch before starting to play.

Not only will stretching help keep your muscles loose and limber, but it’ll also provide a warm-up that loosens up the joints for better range of motion – all things necessary to play at peak performance.

You should focus on basic stretches for your arms and shoulders because they will be sore when the game is over if you don’t take care of them beforehand. Stretching also helps prevent injuries from happening in the first place–and those are even more painful than just playing with pain! 

So what are some key arm and shoulder stretches? Try these biceps, triceps, shoulder, or forearm stretches out.

Tennis Elbow Treatments

  1. Put ice on your elbow

Should you use heat or ice when in pain? The right answer is both. Heat can be used to relieve muscle tension, and it will also reduce swelling. Ice on the other hand, reduces inflammation and relieves pain by reducing blood flow to an injured area. 

Use a cold pack for about 20 minutes following your match or session of tennis if you want quick relief from painful muscles that are tight around the joint with some residual soreness during the day afterwards. 

You should repeat this every three hours for two days after playing tennis arm-in-arm with friends or in a match, until you feel the pain is relieved.

Follow these guidelines:

  • Cover your elbow with a pack of ice for 20 minutes every 2-3 hours or so.
  • Try to find where the ice has the most impact and leave it there.
  • Remember to not re-activate the muscles around the iced arm in order to keep the arm recovering from the treatment.
  • Most importantly, cover the bag of ice with a towel of a barrier between your arm and the ice. It’ll help you hold it there for long, or tie it to your arm comfortably.
  1. Try a tennis elbow brace

If you have been experiencing the debilitating pain of tennis elbow, it may be time to invest in a brace. A common misconception is that braces like these are just fads for people who want to give themselves an injury. In reality, they’re very helpful for recovering elbows and can even prevent future injuries before they happen. 

You may have seen these braces on the pro-tennis players at your local court. 

A tennis elbow brace is an efficient and affordable way to help with the recovery process. Tennis players, golfers, gardeners, or even office workers who spend a lot of time at their desk can use a tennis elbow brace for protection against injury in general.

Plus, it provides relief without restricting movement of your hand while still offering support to prevent further damage. If you’re suffering from any type of elbow condition, we recommend using one as soon as possible!

  1. Correct your technique

Understanding how to use good technique and understanding your body’s natural movements are both important when it comes to playing tennis. Do you know if you have been using bad techniques? 

One of the most important things you can do to correct a bad technique is to keep your body moving like one unit. Make sure that when striking the ball, all of your muscles work together and not in isolation. If you’ve been struggling with tennis elbow or any other injury while playing tennis, make it a point to adjust how you’re hitting so that you reduce strain on those particular areas. 

If you’ve been playing the same way for years, change it up and see what happens! You might be surprised at how much better you get after only a few weeks of practice. Remember that there are no shortcuts – changing your technique takes time and effort, but with these tips on modifying movements in tennis elbow-prone areas like the arms, wrists and fingers, we hope to make that process easier for you.

A great way to judge if your technique needs some tweaking is by recording yourself hitting shots – this will tell you whether or not everything’s working as intended. If you want to go further, you can ask your local coach at the club about some tips on how to improve your hitting technique.

  1. Regularly massage, exercise and stretch before playing

If you want to keep your tennis elbow from coming back, stretches, exercises and massage can be some of the most effective ways. One way is by massaging your elbow with a massage gun like this one or using self-massage techniques. 

These methods will increase blood circulation, and on the way relieving the pain in your arm! It’s important not only for treating but also preventing it from returning so make sure these are part of your routine when you have an injury.

As you can see, there are many ways to treat your tennis elbow. However, if you want a fast and effective way to relieve the pain of this injury or prevent it from coming back, I recommend that you take up self-massage with a massage gun like the one we discussed earlier in this article.

  1. Take deliberate rests

If you want to avoid tennis elbow, give yourself a break. Take deliberate rests from whatever activity is causing the overuse of your muscles and listen to what your body needs. Resting will help strengthen those muscle groups so they can withstand future stressors more easily. Remember that it’s not always about doing less, but rather taking care of yourself by giving in order for things to last longer.

  1. Using painkillers

Tennis elbow is a common injury that can be treated with some simple at-home remedies. If your pain becomes too intense or if it persists for a couple of weeks already, I encourage you to consult a physician immediately.

If you have it, the good news is that most cases are readily treatable with conservative treatments like pain killers and anti-inflammatory medications like ibufen and paracetamol.

You also have other options such as anti-inflammatory creams that could help reduce inflammation caused by repetitive movements in your arm due to playing tennis.

  1. Kinesio Taping

Kinesio taping is a great option for those who are looking to relieve pain in their joints without the use of medication. One way that Kinesio tape manages the symptoms of tennis elbow, as well as other injuries, is by reducing the load on your elbows during muscle contraction of your wrists’ extensors. 

The lighter pressure and constant stretch also allow you to become more aware of how you’re moving which can help prevent future injury. It is quite popular to use among pro tennis players on the tour, and can be observed frequently.

When used correctly, kinesiology tape can be helpful for managing various ailments besides tennis elbow like arthritis, back pain, plantar fasciitis, and more.

  1. Surgery

If conservative treatments like taking medication or icing don’t seem to be working, it might also be worth considering seeing a doctor about surgery as an option.

Tennis elbow is a painful condition that can be difficult to live with. If you’ve come to a state where no other treatment or advice would work to help relieve pain, there is surgery. Surgery is the last resort for your tennis elbow.

There are two types of surgeries, open and arthroscopic surgery. Both have their benefits and drawbacks, but it’s important to know that even with surgery you may not be able to go back to doing all things you could before suffering from tennis elbow pain.

Thankfully, there are now two types of surgeries available for treatment. Open surgery is more invasive and requires larger incisions in your arm but it heals faster than arthroscopic surgery does. 

As described above, open surgeries are more invasive than arthroscopic procedures but they can also lead to less pain in the long run because there’s less scar tissue build-up around your elbow joint when it heals. Arthroscopic procedures take longer for recovery but are much less painful during treatment as well as afterward which means you’ll get back on track quicker after surgery and start building up strength again sooner too.

Tennis Elbow Exercises

Everyone knows that tennis elbow can be really painful. One of the best ways to relieve some of this pain is with a wrist-related exercises. This simple, easy-to-do exercises helps stretch out your forearm and release tension in the muscles around it.

  1. Exercise: Towel twisting

The towel twist is an exercise that can be performed at home to help relieve tension and soreness in the elbow. If you are suffering from tennis elbow, this simple exercise will provide a bit of relief.

All you need is one hand-rolled up towel per arm, with your hands on either end. Keeping your shoulders relaxed (don’t hunch over) start twisting 10 times before switching directions to the other side for another 10 twists. Repeat as often as needed!

  1. Exercise: Squeezing your fist

The fist squeeze is an isolation exercise that targets the forearm flexors. The fist squeeze is a great exercise to help strengthen the muscles in your forearm.

It may help to relieve some of your pain and improve mobility in the elbow joint. A ten-minute session should be done every day before you go to bed or on a break at work.

All you need is an object in the size of your hand: a towel, a tennis ball, a sock or a rubber ball, alternatively squeezing it for sessions of 10 seconds for about 10 sets on the desired arm.

  1. Exercise: Flexing your wrist

Raise your arm straight out in front of you with a palm facing downwards. Slowly bend your wrist upwards and use one hand to pull the fingers back towards your body, hold this position for 15-30 seconds before straightening again. Repeat twice more then do 3 sets of these exercises.

  1. Exercise: Wrist lifting

This simple movement strengthens your forearm muscles and reduces tension in your tendons.

To perform this exercise, start with an object like a small weight or tin can in one hand (a heavier weight will be more challenging). Then extend your hand outward with palm facing up while bending your wrist upwards towards the body before holding for 5 seconds at each point. Repeat for 10 times, do 2 sets of these.

  1. Exercise: Wrist turning

Start by bending your elbow at about 45 or so degrees and extending your arm outward so you’re holding it up perpendicular to the ground. Next, twist your hand slowly until you end up facing down towards the floor with palm facing downward and hold like this for five seconds.

This simple movement will help stretch and relax the muscles in your forearm that are often tight as a result of too much repetitive motion or muscle strain. Remember to do two sets of 10 repetitions each day

What movements should I avoid with tennis elbow?

So, if you want to avoid worsening your tennis elbow injury and keep playing the sport you love, it’s best to take time off from these types of exercises.

If you want to keep your tennis elbow from getting worse, it’s important that you avoid exercises and movements that involve flexors in the forearms. Avoid doing these movements:

  1. Wrist exercises should also be avoided at all costs if they cause too much stress on your forearm muscles.
  2. Chin-ups, pushups and bench presses are all no-nos for anyone with a history of tennis elbow pain or injury. 
  3. Avoid any exercises that require your elbows and wrists being straightened for long periods of time.
  4. Repetitive lifrting exercises are one example of an exercise that can put strain on these muscles in particular.
  5. Generally speaking, training with high weights would be not advisable for anyone who’s experiencing tennis elbow.

Tip: In order to achieve more control over your range of motion it would be using machines at a gym instead of free weights because they allow for controlled movements while reducing the risk of repetitive motion injuries.

Conclusion

Tennis elbow is a painful condition that can be caused by repetitive motions to the arm, such as playing tennis. It’s important to know how and when this pain occurs so you can take appropriate measures for treatment. We have tried to cover about all the ins-and-outs of this perplexing injury.

It is not necessary to have played tennis for years to develop this condition – it just happens more often in those who do play the sport because they are constantly swinging their arms and using their wrists forcefully. The pain associated with this injury usually starts gradually, then worsens as time goes on.

There are many factors that can contribute to tennis elbow. It is important to understand the underlying cause of your pain, which could be anything from overuse or repetitive movements like typing on a keyboard or swinging a racquet and then address them accordingly with stretching exercises, massage therapy, and other treatments.

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