Tennis can be a great game to play. It’s a fun way to get outside (weather permitting) and be active. But as lighthearted as this game may be many of you already know that there can be a dark side to tennis – it takes the form of tennis elbow. This post will give an overview of tennis elbow – what it is, how it develops, and what can be done to treat it.
Tennis elbow, technically known as Lateral Epicondylitis, is a condition affecting the muscles and tendons of the forearm, primarily where they attach at the outside portion of the elbow. If you currently have tennis elbow you will have no problems finding that area because of the localized pain and swelling.
Like golfer’s elbow, tennis elbow is caused by repetitive overuse of the muscles. The inciting movement is usually the back hand shot wherein the forearm muscles must brace the wrist to hold the tennis racket steady. Although equipment has come a long way, and rackets are much lighter than they used to be, repetitive stress and strain imposed on those muscles can cause injury and inflammation to build up. And if sufficient time to heal is not taken, an acute problem can turn chronic.
Here are some tips for what you can do to help ease the pain of tennis elbow:
Rest – Don’t push through the pain. Allow time for your body to heal and let the muscles rest from over-use.
Ice – Using a cold compress for ten minutes at a time a few times throughout the day can help to relieve pain, reduce swelling, and speed recovery.
Warm up – Make sure the muscles in your shoulder, elbow, and wrist are ready to play by warming up with some wrist circles, arm circles, and performing the actions to the song YMCA*.
Stretch – To help reduce and prevent tight muscles stretch out the forearms frequently throughout the day. Hold your arm out with palm down; use your other hand to gently press your fingers and wrist down until you feel some tension within the muscles; hold for 20-25 seconds.
Sometimes a little extra help is needed. Chiropractic treatment for tennis elbow can be effective. This is how we manage the condition at our chiropractic clinic:
Muscle Release Therapy – This is a soft tissue therapy used to reduce inflammation and muscle contractions within tissues (“muscle knots”) by helping to break up the tightness. It may involve either active or passive stretching along with direct pressure to break up adhesions within the muscles/tendons.
Microcurrent – This electrotherapeutic modality can help to decrease inflammation and pain in the affected area. It also works to accelerate the body’s natural healing ability.
Adjusting – Chiropractic adjustments help to loosen the joints, decrease pain, restore proper movement, and optimize function. Chiropractic adjustments can be applied to the joints of the spine but can also be used to help directly at the wrist and elbow.
For more information on tennis elbow or other sports injuries please contact us at Clear Path Chiropractic Health Centre in downtown Guelph Ontario.
*The lesser known but still physically engaging Bird Dance may also be employed.