If you’ve ever played a tennis game against someone who winces whenever they serve you are probably familiar with tennis elbow but did you know that in the past it was also known as “writer’s cramp.” And “washer women’s elbow”?
What is tennis elbow?
In tennis elbow sufferers the muscles and tendons of the forearm become damaged from overuse, which leads to pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow.
How do you know if you’ve got tennis elbow?
You feel pain on the outer part of the elbow and the bone on the outside of the elbow feels tender. You might feel pain from gripping and movements of the wrist. Your wrist hurts from movements such as pouring a jug of liquid, lifting with the palm down or sweeping.
What causes it?
People used to think that overexertion caused tennis elbow however recent studies show that trauma such as a direct blow to the epicondyle, a sudden forceful pull, or forceful extension cause more than half of these injuries.
It has also been known that shock to the muscles through mishitting the ball and playing tennis incorrectly could cause early stages of tennis elbow.
How to prevent it?
It can be difficult to prevent getting tennis elbow but you can take some precautionary measures to avoid a chronic condition. Not putting strain on the tendons of your elbow will help you to avoid the condition or prevent your symptoms getting worse.
If you have tennis elbow, stop doing the activity that is causing pain, or find another way of doing it that doesn’t stress your tendons.
Avoid using your wrist and elbow more than the rest of your arm, try to spread the load to the larger muscles of your shoulder and upper arm.
If you play a sport that involves repetitive movements, such as tennis or squash, getting some coaching advice to help improve your technique may help you avoid developing the problem.
Before playing a sport that involves repetitive arm movements, warm up properly and gently stretch your arm muscles to help avoid injury.
Use a lightweight racket and a large grip size to help avoid putting excess strain on your tendons.
Wear a tennis elbow splint when you use the arm, and remove it while resting or sleeping to help prevent further damage to your tendons.
Building up strength in your forearm muscles can help prevent tennis elbow. For exercises to build up your forearm muscles read our Top Forearm Exercises To Build Strength & Toning article here.