Many recreational and club players suffer at some time from tennis elbow. Tennis elbow is a strain or tear in the muscle and can be brought on by a variety of factors. Common mistakes players make are not warming up properly-especially after a break from the game or hitting too hard to soon which can inflame or tear the tissue fibres on the tendon of the elbow. Other contributing factors include playing with “dead” tennis balls,playing with a racquet that is too heavy or light,strings that are too tight or even playing with a grip which is too small. The most common cause of tennis elbow especially to newcomers toÂ the game is bad technique. The weight of a tennis racquet is heavy and to be swinging it with the wrist and forearm only puts stress on these muscles and can cause pain and the beginning of tennis elbow. If you believe your technique is correct start the elimination process. Firstly ensure the balls you hit with are not “dead” and experiment with looser tensions on your racquet. Racquets these days have a recommended tension marked on the inside of the throat of the racquet for example 50+/-5 lbs. Check this out and try stringing a few pounds lighter to see if it elevates the problem. Also overgrip your racquet and build up the grip, this can sometimes help.
How to treat tennis elbow. Dont ignore the pain. There are many players that will tell you they cant lift a glass these days the pain is so bad and then there are others that opt for a cortizone injection to mask the pain, a drastic and not always successful option. I guarantee if you see a doctor he will tell you to “stop playing until it doesnt hurt anymore”. The words all tennis players do not want to hear! I agree with the advice to stop and rest and through experience to ice the affected area for 10 to 15 mins religiously after play and for days after to help stop inflamation. When you feel some improvement you need to strengthen the muscles around the area. One easy exercise is to get an elastic band and wrap around the fingers and thumb and expand your fingers and thumb. Spread the fingers 10 to 15 times to begin with and add more elastic bands for greater resistence.This is just one of many exercises that will help you get back on court earlier and protect you for the future. A tennis elbow support can also help to disperse the impact shock when making contact with the ball however dont rely on it and continue to build up the muscles. With proper treatment and constant strengthening your days on court wont be numbered.