Tennis remains one of the most popular recreational sports in the United Kingdom. In addition to being a lot of fun to play, it is a great sport for boosting cardiovascular fitness, toning muscles, and improving bone health.
Unfortunately, there are several injuries associated with tennis which can cause players to seek the assistance of our Fareham chiropractors. At t Homewood Chiropractor Clinic in Fareham, the injury we see most often is tennis elbow.
However, tennis isn’t the only activity that can cause tennis elbow. Any activity that repeated overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm, near the elbow joint, such as decorating or playing the violin, can cause it.
In this post, our chiropractor identifies the causes of tennis elbow and explains how to manage this common condition.
What Causes Tennis Elbow?
The elbow contains several tendons which connect the muscles of the forearm and bicep to bone. If you are using the muscles in your forearm repetitively, as you would when playing tennis, it can cause these tendons to become inflamed and swollen. The technical name for this condition is epicondylitis, but we all know it as tennis elbow.
The symptoms of tennis elbow most often cited by patients visiting Homewood Chiropractic Clinic include:
- Radiating elbow and arm pain
- Pain when gripping objects
- Difficult raising the hand on the affected arm
Diagnosis of tennis elbow is fairly simple. When you visit one of our chiropractors, they will perform a thorough examination of your arm, wrist, and elbow. They may also order an X-ray or MRI to confirm that it is tennis elbow and not another condition.
Managing Tennis Elbow
Here are several ways to manage tennis elbow and relieve the pain it causes.
#1 – Icing the elbow
The simplest way to reduce inflammation of the elbow’s tendons is by applying ice. Place some ice cubes in a plastic bag, then wrap the bag in a tea towel to create a cold compress. Apply it to your elbow for 20 to 30 minutes. Repeat every 4 hours until the pain has gone.
#2 – Perform range of motion exercises
Range of motion exercises move a joint all of the way its possible range. They are useful for preserving the flexibility and mobility of the injured joints. One of the simplest range of motion exercises for tennis elbow is a wrist extension:
- Start with your elbow resting on a table at a 90-degree angle with palm facing down
- Slowly extend your wrist to lift it off the table
- Repeat this movement ten times
If you feel strong enough, add some resistance to the exercise by holding a water bottle. If you visit one of our chiropractors, they will be able to share a variety of other range of motion exercises which target the elbow.
#3 – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDs)
Taking NSAIDs like naproxen and ibuprofen can relieve the pain and swelling caused by tennis elbow. However, it is important to remember that these medications do cause side effects. They should only be taken when absolutely necessary and always according to instructions.
#4 – Isolate the elbow with an elbow strap
An elbow strap can help to limit how much strain is placed on the joint each day. This gives the joint a chance to rest and heal.
#5 – Rest and relaxation
All overuse injuries can benefit from rest and relaxation. Give yourself a decent break from tennis or whatever activity caused the tendons in the elbow to become inflamed. If you are a keen sportsperson, spend some time riding a bike, jogging, or performing other activities which do not strain the elbow.
#6 – Strengthen the affected joint
Once your elbow is feeling better, you can begin to perform strengthening exercises to reduce the risk of a reoccurrence. One of the simplest options is to use a squash ball or stress ball. Simply squeeze the ball for 5 seconds, repeating the exercise at least 10 times. Visit our chiropractic clinic to learn more strengthening exercises which reduce the risk of tennis elbow.
If your tennis elbow is proving to be particularly painful, make an appointment with one of our experienced chiropractors at Homewood Chiropractic Clinic in Fareham by calling 01329 280 283 today.