Tennis elbow is a strain or inflammation or both of the wrist muscles where they connect to the elbow joint on the outside.
WHAT CAUSES TENNIS ELBOW
Tennis elbow is usually the result of repetitive use either in racquet sports or throwing which over stresses the surrounding structures of the elbow. Also using inappropriate equipment can lead to damage.
SYMPTOMS OF TENNIS ELBOW
Pain is felt around the injured elbow and there can be difficulty lifting or using the injured arm. The damaged area will feel tender over the outside of the elbow, giving not only elbow pain but lower arm and elbow pain.
HOW TO HEAL AND AID A QUICK RECOVERY
The elbow should be rested and ice applied for 15 minutes periodically over the next 24 hours. Crush the ice as fine as possible to mold around the elbow. a piece of cloth can be placed between the ice and the elbow to avoid ice burn (frost bite). Use a sling to immobilize the elbow when you have to go out.
How long the elbow takes to heal depends on the severity of the sprain. From about 4 to 8 weeks is a general guide.
EXERCISES TO STRENGTHEN AND REGAIN ELBOW FLEXIBILITY
- Fully flex the arm keeping it supported on the thigh.
- Raise the arm above the head and extend the arm at the elbow.
- Support the arm on the opposite hand with the hand to be used palm up and perform a full wrist curl. Repeat this twice, slowly and controlled.
- Perform this exercise again but this time with the palm down.
- Rest the arm on the opposite hand and move the wrist from left to right 10 times.
- Use a bar with a weight suspended from it with string. Wind it up and then unwind.
- Squeeze a rubber ball. This can be done whilst watching TV or chatting with friends or waiting for a bus.
Perform these exercises twice for two days and then repeat using an exercise tube for resistance. Stretch the tube slowly and steadily.
PREVENTING ELBOW INJURIES
- Correction of wrong techniques in racquet sports should be dealt with. This needs persistence but usually benefits the players game which is an added bonus as well as preventing further injury in the future. Continue strengthening exercises after returning to sport.
- Always warm up, especially the shoulder elbow and wrist.
- Protection can be worn in the form of counter force braces for racquet sports and padded elbow sleeves for other sports.