With Wimbledon nearly upon us, the urge to get out onto the courts and try to emulate today’s stars is sometimes overwhelming. Although tennis is a great way of keeping fit and active, there is one injury that we should be aware of; Lateral Epicondylitis. Or, as it more commonly known, tennis elbow.
What is tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is an inflammation of the outer forearm and elbow where the tendons attach to the bone. These injuries are usually caused by repetitive movements and prolonged gripping in activities such as tennis. They can also be caused by hammering, weight lifting, driving screws, playing musical instruments and digging. In racquet sports, it most commonly occurs due to poor backhand technique.
What are the symptoms?
Typical symptoms of tennis elbow include aching, throbbing or tenderness on the outer elbow. This can be made worse by seemingly trivial movements such as typing, carrying bags, chopping food and even turning door knobs.
What should I do?
There are a number of things you can do to prevent tennis elbow from occurring or to alleviate symptoms.
- Try using a lighter racquet.
- Increase the grip size on your tennis racquet to avoid tight grip.
- Reduce string tension on your racquet.
- Reduce your activity levels by 50%.
- Wear a compressive elbow strap.
- Get some tennis lessons to improve your backhand.
- Ice the outer elbow using a bag of frozen peas or an ice pack wrapped in a tea towel. Do this for 10 minutes every hour.
If this advice still leaves you in discomfort, it may be worth contacting the clinic for an assessment. We will be able to evaluate the extent of the injury and help you to start a rehabilitation programme.