Are you an ardent tennis player? Do you find that your elbow suffers a lot of pain and discomfort? If so, you’re not alone!
Taping your elbow may be the solution that you’ve been looking for.
This simple procedure can help reduce the pain and inflammation in your elbow, and it is relatively easy.
Taping a tennis elbow can be long and frustrating if done incorrectly.
We’ve put together a comprehensive guide on tapping tennis elbow to make the process as easy as possible.
From the basics of choosing the suitable tape to the correct way to apply it, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get started.
So whether you’re a beginner or an experienced taper, read on for advice that will help you get the job done right!
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a condition that affects the tendon of the elbow and can be caused by recurring overuse or trauma to the tendon.
It’s a tennis-related injury, as that’s one of the most frequent activities that cause tennis elbow.
The pain typically starts at the elbow and moves up the arm towards the shoulder. It can be very severe and keep you from doing everyday activities.
Tennis Elbow can permanently damage the tendon and even require surgery if left untreated.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Following are some of the most common symptoms of Tennis Elbow:
1. Unable to lift arm:
This is probably the most common symptom of Tennis Elbow. When you try to lift your arm, it feels like there’s a lot of resistance and pain in the elbow.
2. Pain when extending arm:
When you extend your arm fully, there will be pain along the tendon that connects your elbow to your shoulder.
This can be pretty debilitating and make everyday tasks extremely difficult or impossible.
3. Pain when rotating forearm:
Another common symptom of the Tennis Elbow is a pain when rotating your forearm – this usually happens when you try to do things such as pick up an object with your hand.
4. Limited range of motion:
If you have Tennis Elbow, then it will limit the range of motion in your elbow – this means that you won’t be able to do things such as extend or rotate your arm fully or move it side-to-side.
Tennis Elbow often leads to swelling – this is due to the constant pain that you’re experiencing.
The swelling makes it very hard for your elbow to move and can make the injury even more severe.
If left untreated, Tennis Elbow can lead to scarring, mainly caused by a traumatic event such as a fall or an accident.
This can make regular arm movements difficult or impossible and significantly reduce your ability to perform basic tasks such as lifting weights or reaching high.
Types of Tapes for Tennis Elbow
Here are the three types of tapes that are commonly used for Tennis Elbow:
1. Adhesive Tape:
This is the most common type of tape and is usually the least effective. Adhesive tapes stick to your skin and don’t offer much support or protection.
2. Elastic Bandage:
Elastomeric bandages are a little more complicated, but they offer better support than adhesive tape.
They’re also adjustable, which means you can make them as tight or loose as necessary to accommodate your specific needs.
3. Sterile Wrap:
Sterile wraps are the most complex type of tape and offer the best support and protection.
They’re also made from a sterile material, which won’t cause skin irritation or inflammation.
Techniques For Taping Your Tennis Elbow
There are a few basic techniques that you should be familiar with when it comes to taping your Tennis Elbow:
1. Make sure that the tape is firmly secured:
Tape should be tightly secured to your skin to provide the best possible support. If it’s too loose, it won’t do much to protect your elbow and can even cause further damage.
2. Make sure that the tape isn’t constricting:
The tape shouldn’t be so tight that it becomes uncomfortable or causes pain. However, you also don’t want it to be too loose, either – a little tension is essential to ensure maximal protection.
3. Test the tape before use:
Before using any tape, try it out on a small inconspicuous area first. This way, you can gauge its strength and effectiveness for your particular situation.
4. Follow the instructions:
Always follow the specific instructions that come with your tape. Failure to do so may result in unforeseen injury.
Plus, different tapes work better on other people, so you don’t want to change something that isn’t necessary.
How to Tape Tennis Elbow?
Here are steps that you should follow while taping the tennis elbow properly:
1. Remove any jewelry that may be in the way:
Some types of tape require you to remove any metal objects from your surrounding area, including, but not limited to, bracelets and necklaces.
If these items interfere with the tape’s ability to adhere to your skin correctly, they’ll need to be removed before taping.
2. Clean and dry the affected area:
Make sure to clean and dry the affected area as best as possible before taping.
This will help to prevent any build-up of dirt or moisture, which can lead to irritation and ultimately less protection from the tape.
3. Apply a thin layer of adhesive:
Apply a thin layer of adhesive – usually about an inch wide – over the affected area in a circular motion.
Be sure not to overlap the edges of the bandage too much; instead, leave enough space so that it’s easy for your skin to breathe (and hopefully repel bacteria!).
4. Place bandage securely:
Once the adhesive has dried, place the bandage securely over the entire area.
Make sure to wrap it snugly but not too tightly – if done correctly, this should provide plenty of protection while still allowing your skin some mobility.
5. Repeat steps 2-4 as necessary:
Depending on the severity of your tennis elbow, you may need to repeat Steps 2-4 several times until the pain and inflammation have subsided.
Don’t be discouraged if this process takes a few tries – the bandage must be comfortable and effective in providing long-term relief!
6. Don’t Over-Tape:
If the tape is too tight, it will stop blood flow and cause more pain. Make sure to adjust the bandage as needed, but be careful not to make it too loose!
7. Don’t Over-Wraps:
If the tape pulls too tight, it can cut off blood flow and cause more pain.
Try to keep the wrap as snug as possible without being too restrictive – but again, be careful not to make it so tight that you cut off circulation!
8. Change Bandages Daily:
Changing your bandage daily is important – even if the pain seems minimal. This will help prevent skin irritation and bacterial buildup, leading to more severe problems.
9. Let the Bandage Air-Out:
Let the bandage air out for at least 30 minutes after applying it if you can. This will help to reduce the chances of skin irritation or infection.
10. Examine the Bandage Daily:
If the pain or inflammation doesn’t seem to improve, it may be necessary to see a doctor.
However, if you follow these steps and keep your bandage on as long as possible, you should still be able to get relief by following up with a physician.
Things Not to do after Taping Tennis Elbow
Here are a few things you should avoid after taping your tennis elbow:
1. Don’t Exercise:
Exercising can aggravate the pain and inflammation in a Tennis Elbow, so stay off the court as much as possible while the tape is still on.
You may also want to consider resting or icing your elbow for a few days afterward – this will help reduce swelling and improve overall healing.
2. Don’t Touch Your Wrist/Arm Enough:
Trying to touch or gently move your wrist/arm too soon after taping can cause more pain and inflammation.
If you have to move your arm at all, make sure to do it very cautiously and with the assistance of a friend!
3. Don’t Scratch:
If you start scratching your elbow too much, you’ll increase the amount of irritation and swelling that’s already happening.
Try soothing ointments or creams – they can help relieve pain and itching while fighting off infection.
4. Don’t Try to Remove the Tape:
If you’re ever in doubt about whether or not to remove the tape, err on the side of caution and leave it on. This will help reduce the chances of damaging your elbow further.
5. Don’t Try to Clean the Tape:
The tape will eventually start coming off on its own – don’t try to remove it prematurely by scrubbing or using harsh chemicals.
This could irritate your skin even more and lead to further inflammation.
6. Don’t Overdo It:
Make sure to take it easy on your elbow – if you push yourself too hard, you could reinjure the joint or worsen the inflammation.
Tennis elbow is a condition that can be caused by overuse or inflammation of the joint.
Treatment typically includes rest and medication, but in some cases, surgery may be required.
After taping, reduce activity and limit movement until the tape is removed.
If you experience pain when using your arm even after some days of taping, or if the inflammation increases, consult your physician and consider other treatments as per the advice.