With the tennis season in full swing, we thought it best to talk about one of the most common injuries we see in the clinic over the summer sporting period, tennis elbow. Though, despite its name, tennis elbow is not an injury that is only characterised by tennis players but is common across many summer sports. This includes tennis (of course), golf, baseball and tee-ball, as well as sports such as hiking and mountain climbing. Though, tennis elbow is limited to sport, and can even occur through daily activities such as typing or lifting.
This is because tennis elbow occurs when stress and strain in placed on the lateral epicondyle (an area of the elbow where many muscles that assist in the extension of the wrist are attached to). The injury will commonly occur when such muscles become tight due to overuse and hence overstretch. This causes a strain.
For younger individuals or those who have only incurred the injury once, the pain will generally go away in its own time. However, tennis elbow is an injury that is known to reoccur and hence over time, the body's healing process may develop a large mass of thickened scar tissue. This means that there will be persistent pain throughout the elbow, even during periods of no activity.
So how do I know if I have tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow is generally characterised by a sharp pain on the outside of the elbow, aching in the forearm during rest periods, and a weakened sense of grip. This could make basic daily activities, such as picking up a cup of coffee of hanging up the washing a painful chore.
But there is a way to relieve pain!
Stretching your forearm extensor muscles
This is important to regain full range of movement in the elbow, and in order to realign the fibres during tissue repair. A common stretch for this injury is to extend your arm with the palm of your hand facing downwards, and then pull your hand downwards towards the underside of your forearm.
Isometric exercises should also be implemented.
This involves squeezing a stress ball (not as hard as a tennis ball, but similar size), holding it momentarily before releasing. Another exercise is using a rubber band wrapped around all fingertips, and then extending your fingers outwards, holding for a few seconds before releasing.
While slowly gaining more strength in your forearm, make sure to maintain your aerobic fitness by cycling, or jogging – just as long as it does not strain your elbow.
For more information, contact us at 97933119, or visit our website!