Tennis elbow is the common term used to describe a particular form of tendinitis that your doctor might call “Lateral Epicondylitis”.
It is an inflammation or swelling of the tendons that causes pain in the elbow and arm. It should be noted that tennis elbow is caused by any activity that with repetitive motion that puts stress on your forearm. As such it is not limited to tennis players, but to anyone engaged in these types of activities such as other racquet sports, construction, and even knitting.
As with many other conditions, age is also a factor. You are more at risk from your mid thirties on than are your younger counterparts.
The good news is that there are a number of things you can do to lower your risk of getting tennis elbow. There are essentially four points to consider; Exercise to strengthen the forearm, proper warm up before practicing or playing, using the right racquet for your size and skill level, and playing with a good technique.
You should consult a certified tennis instructor on the following points to ensure that you are making the right choices and doing activities correctly.
Away from the court, there are a number of exercises you can do to strengthen your forearm muscles including “squeeze and release”, “wrist flexion stretch” and “wrist rolls”. They are all simple to perform, take just a few minutes and require no special equipment.
Tennis is no different from any other physical activity and warming up and stretching before you start will help get the blood flowing to your muscles, increase your flexibility and reduce your overall risk of injury not just tennis elbow
We are all built differently and there is no “one size fits all”. Your racquet should be of the correct weight and grip size for you. Even the the type of strings and their tension can contribute to tennis elbow. A racquet with a flexible as opposed to a stiff shaft and having your racquet strung at a lower tension may be appropriate for you. Spending a bit extra on proper equipment will pay off in the long run in helping prevent injury.
Focusing on the Right Grip
Technique is also critical in helping prevent tennis elbow and this is really an area where your tennis coach can help.
Here you will be focusing first on your grip. Don’t grip too tightly and try to relax your grip during a match such as between points.
Proper playing technique is critically important. Your serve, the way you hit ground strokes and especially your backhand should be evaluated by your coach. For some people a two handed backhand may be beneficial as it reduces the stress on your dominant arm
Tennis elbow is all too common.
Not only is it painful, but it takes you away from the game you enjoy. If you consult with your coach and follow their advice regarding exercise, warm up, equipment and technique you can greatly reduce your risk while increasing your performance and your enjoyment of the game.
Tennis instruction from professional coaches can make a big difference when trying to avoid some of the more common injuries. To find out what makes our coaches special, contact our friendly team today!