Tennis elbow is one of the most prevalent sports injuries among active adults.
It can cut your time on the court shorter than an American male’s run at Wimbledon! Here’s how to avoid this common ailment and continue to enjoy playing tennis.
During the sunny summer months your time on the tennis court ramps up. Whether its enjoying some friendly matches, competing in a summer league, or just basking in the sunshine and working on your skills, hitting a green ball with a racquet just feels right – until it doesn’t.
If you are already experiencing the symptoms of lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow) then stop what you are doing (playing tennis) and go see a medical professional. It should go without saying that if you have tennis elbow, then you should probably put the racquet down while you recover – no tennis = no tennis elbow.
Next, find a quality body worker to help you mitigate your pain and begin your rehabilitation. A specialist like a physical therapist, chiropractor, or massage therapist can help you reduce inflammation and relieve the tension in your hand and forearm.
Whether you are recovering from the aches and pains of tennis elbow, or trying to prevent them from ever showing up, some purposeful physical training is imperative. The key to your training, just like all performance enhancement, is appropriate loading and managing the imposed stress.
Initially you will want to build a solid foundation from which you can increase intensity. There is no better way to do that for a recovering injury than isometric training. The advantages of isometric training are total control of the joint position to avoid painful areas and the fact that you won’t exacerbate inflammation or tendon irritation because there is no lengthening or shortening of the involved muscles or tendons. Dr. Andreo Spina, a Sports Specialist Chiropractor and creator of the Functional Range Release protocol, offers the following exercise as a way to begin combatting the discomfort created by tennis elbow:
Once you have increased the pain-free range of motion, you can continue to build resiliency in the forearm with the inclusion of eccentric training; or developing muscular function in their lengthened positions. Eccentric training protocols increase connective tissue strength, which is what was irritated in the first place.
Eccentric training is notoriously stressful on the muscles and tendons, which is why you spent time building up with isometrics, so be mindful with sets, reps, and exposure to the load. One drill with proven benefits for athletes suffering from tennis elbow is the “Twizzler Twist”.
If you do find yourself missing time on the court due to tennis elbow, start your recovery by taking time off from the activity that created the issue in the first place, tennis. Seek out proper care from a medical professional to alleviate the pain and inflammation symptoms.
Once cleared for rehabilitation exercises, begin with isometric training and slowly add eccentric work to build up resiliency in the affected muscular and tendon tissues. With proper care and smart training, you’ll be back to ruling the court with overhead smashes and back-hand winners in no time!
Are you having trouble with tennis elbow or other fitness injuries? Talk to us or call us at 469-619-7499