What’s the cure for tennis elbow?
Article By: Pure Physio: John Willenbruch: Auckland New Zealand
Executive Health And Fitness does not endorse the products listed in this article however such products may be beneficial.
I am often asked “What’s the cure for tennis elbow?” but the first step is diagnosis. Tennis elbow causes pain on the outside of the elbow and upper forearm. If you feel the outside of the elbow there is a nobbly bump which is part of the upper arm bone pain is usually just below that.
You will feel pain on gripping, typing or using your hand, even when your elbow is still.
Tennis elbow is NOT caused by hitting the arm on something, if you have strong pain after hitting, or falling on, the elbow consult a medical practitioner.
There are easy tests you can do at home to see if you have tennis elbow.
Grip the top of a jar, tennis ball or something of a similar size.
Make a fist, straighten your elbow and then bend your wrist so your thumb comes towards your forearm
Again make a fist and straighten your elbow. This time push the back of your hand up either into your other hand or into a table or other solid object
If two of these tests give pain or a strong stretchy/tight feel read on, you almost certainly have tennis elbow.
The Cure for Tennis Elbow
The process that will give you Tennis Elbow has distinct phases. Because of this what you do to maximise your recovery through these phases is different. This will be outlined below. There are some factors which may lengthen these time frames, they are discussed more fully below.
You will need two items to help with your tennis elbow cure one in the early stages and the other for preventing recurrence. We recommend you buy these at the same time, this will minimise your postage costs.
Tennis Elbow Strap
It is really important to get on top of the pain of tennis elbow early. By doing this you can use the hand more normally. This, obviously, makes life more bearable but also starts the recovery process which will make tendons strong again.
Tennis elbow is caused by the loading of the tendons when you use your hand. A tennis elbow strap acts to change the loading on the tendons and as such will greatly reduce the pain you experience in the short term. By decreasing your pain levels it allows you to get to the stretching and strengthening phases of recovery earlier
We recommend Exous Elbow Brace Strap it gives the right amount of support to alter the line of force of the forearm muscles without impairing function. (if you are in the UK you can buy it here)
Stretching for Tennis Elbow
Once the pain has subsided a little it is important to stretch these tendons out. While they are painful they will shorten, unless you regain this length they will always be sore.
To stretch these muscles we will need to bend the wrist, to start with we will be quite gentle but as the tendons get used to the load we will increase this. Go through the stretches until you find one that feels like it produces a tight or tolerably painful feeling on the outside of the elbow or forearm. This is the place to start, gradually work through the more intense stretches.
- Let your wrist flop down over the arm of a chair so your fingers point down. Now make a fist, repeat this ten times
- Straighten the elbow and let your hand drop down make a fist, relax, make a fist and relax. Repeat 10 times
- Straighten the elbow and let your hand drop down make a fist. Hold this for 10 seconds to start with and build up to 30 seconds. Repeat this stretch 3 times
4. With the elbow straight make a fist and pull the hand towards you. This is quite a strong stretch but the pain should be quite tolerable. Do 30-second holds repeat 3 times. – DO NOT STRAIN OR OVER STRETCH THE TENDON –
- Once you can do stretch number 4 proceed to the strengthening phase.
Strengthening the tendons
After a few weeks of stretching your pain levels should start to decrease. This may take up to four weeks if you have used your arm a lot or if you have suffered from tennis elbow for a while.
You have had pain from tennis elbow as the tendons have not had the strength to tolerate the forces that your life puts upon it. Unsurprisingly it is important that during your recovery we gradually strengthen the tendons by loading them up. This should be done with a gripping twisting motion and the ideal tool for this is using the TheraBand Flexbar . To buy and for instructions click the link.
(if you are in the UK you can buy it here)
Brian Forsythe of EHF EXECUTIVE HEALTH AND FITNESS is a natural competitive bodybuilder and personal trainer with over 20 years of experience in the fitness industry