Andy Murray makes his return to competitive tennis next week as the 2019 Queen's Club Championships get underway with Wimbledon just around the corner. Tennis participation usually goes up this time of year so naturally does the amount of injuries, with tennis elbow being the most common. We take a look at the 5 best ways to combat it.
Tennis Elbow is a very common condition with up to 7 people in every 1000 experiencing it every year. It is the most common cause of elbow pain and a common condition in anyone who performs repetitive arm/wrist movements, particularly any activity involving lifting or twisting.
What causes it? A group of muscles called the common extensors run from the hand and wrist and attach to this bit of bone via a tendon. Tennis elbow is an inflammation of this tendon.
Repeated movements tend to make the symptoms worse. Avoid or modify any activities that aggravate pain just for a short time. If this is not possible, try and incorporate regular rest breaks, particularly if you use your arm or elbow a lot in work
Anti-inflammatory tablets or gel may help. Seek advice from your Pharmacist or GP.
3. Tennis Elbow Support
You may find it helpful to wear a tennis elbow support when performing activities that aggravate symptoms. These work by altering the mechanics of the forearm so that there is less pressure on the affected tendon. Supports should not be worn long term but can be useful to allow a return to activity. Do not wear supports at night.
Exercises is THE key component in reducing symptoms. It is important to strengthen the muscles around the elbow, as well as in the upper arm and shoulder as previously mentioned. Exercises that look to help makes the nerves in the area more mobile can also help. Some forearm muscles can become very tight so you may benefit from stretching the area too
If you find symptoms are persisting despite trying the above, an assessment with a Chartered Physiotherapist is recommended. The Physiotherapist will examine the arm to confirm what the problem is and will then discuss with you what treatment is recommended. The Physio will be able to advise you on your activity levels and will devise an exercise programme for you. Sometimes applying tape to the elbow can help settle symptoms in the short term to allow your home exercise programme to be more effective. If exercises alone are not enough, the physio may perform some hands on techniques to mobilise the elbow joint or the soft tissues around it.