Now accepting Telehealth appointments. Schedule a virtual visit.

How to Prevent and Recover from Tennis Elbow

How to Prevent and Recover from Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, or “lateral epicondylitis,” occurs when tendons that attach the muscle to the bone on the outside of the elbow become damaged from repetitive movements in the wrist or arm. As a result of overuse, small tears form in the tendons, causing inflammation and pain.

The term “tennis elbow” refers to the fact that the injury is common among athletes of racquet sports, however, the condition can cause debilitating pain to anyone who performs repetitive movements that exert the tendons on either side of the elbow. People who work in occupations that involve tasks that overstress these tendons, such as butchers, painters, and carpenters, are also vulnerable to tennis elbow.

You may first notice signs of tennis elbow as a dull ache on the outside of your elbow. Without proper care, the discomfort can worsen, causing pain and burning during certain activities such as gripping, lifting, or grasping, that use the affected tendon.

If you’re experiencing elbow pain or you’re at risk of developing tennis elbow, a medical evaluation can help you reduce the risk of long-term damage. Tennis elbow specialist Tony Zemlinsky, DC, and the team at Active Rehab Clinics in Park Ridge and Bucktown, Chicago, Illinois, provide professional diagnosis and treatment for patients limited by the pain of tennis elbow. 

The staff of Active Rehab Clinics can help you recover from tennis elbow pain and help prevent its recurrence in the future with proper care and education. In this blog, Dr. Zemlinsky discusses how to prevent tennis elbow and what to expect regarding recovery should you experience this condition.

Preventing tennis elbow

If you participate in a racquet sport or work in an occupation that increases your risk of tennis elbow, you can help prevent this condition by working to avoid injuring the tendons that bend your wrist back from your palm. Following these tips can help:

Though you may concentrate on using proper form to protect your knees and back when lifting heavy objects, it’s also important to protect your arms. Proper lifting involves holding an object close to your chest and keeping your palms flat and elbows bent when lifting. An occupational specialist can help you understand how proper body mechanics can protect you from injuries. 

Learning proper form is also important during sports. Working with a trainer can help ensure you learn the proper techniques for holding a racket and swinging without injury. 

Warming before activities such as tennis, squash, racquetball, weight lifting, or using your arms for repetitive movements at work can help your muscles stay healthy when stressed. Simple wrist flexor stretches, wrist curls, and extension exercises can help strengthen the muscles in your forearm.

Reducing the number of repetitive movements you perform with your arm can lessen your risk of tennis elbow. Consider adding cross-training to offset the stress that racquet sports can exert on your forearms. If your occupation involves repetitive movements, try to take regular breaks or alternate among different tasks as much as possible throughout the day.

Using a racquet that’s too large, too small, or too heavy can exert unnecessary strain on your forearm. Consult with a tennis pro to ensure you’re using the right size racquet. 

When working, wear gloves to improve your grip and reduce the effect of vibration on your forearm. Ensure you’re working with tools that are comfortable to hold and grip so that your arm doesn’t absorb extra stress by overstretching or over gripping. 

Complement proper body mechanics by adding a wrist brace or elbow brace when performing repetitive tasks. Ensure a proper fit and comfort, so you’ll get optimal benefits from the added support. 

If you experience mild discomfort, discontinue the activity that’s causing it. Continuing activity with an injured or inflamed elbow can only aggravate damaged tendons. Seek a medical evaluation to avoid long-term damage. 

Recovering from tennis elbow

If you develop elbow pain, it’s important to get an accurate diagnosis. The right treatment can relieve pain and swelling and expedite healing. Depending on your symptoms, you may benefit from one or more of the following therapies for tennis elbow:

Treatment for tennis elbow typically begins with rest and activity modification and progresses from there. Many patients achieve relief with a combination of therapies. Patience and persistence may be necessary since it can take up to a few months for some cases of tennis elbow to resolve. 

Getting an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan are the first steps in recovering from tennis elbow and preventing its recurrence. To schedule a consultation, book online, or call our Park Ridge or Bucktown offices today. 

You Might Also Enjoy...

Causes and Treatment for Snapping Hip Syndrome

Causes and Treatment for Snapping Hip Syndrome

You can't miss the signs of snapping hip syndrome. True to the name, you have snapping sounds or sensations when moving your hips. You may not feel other symptoms at first, but without treatment, pain and other problems can appear.
Flat Feet May be the Cause of Your Chronic Lower Back Pain

Flat Feet May be the Cause of Your Chronic Lower Back Pain

As the “Princess and the Pea” taught us, a seemingly small, distant problem can have a widespread impact, which is undoubtedly true of flat feet and their effect on your lower back. Read on to find out how flat feet may lead to chronic lower back pain.
What’s Causing My Achilles Tendon Pain?

What’s Causing My Achilles Tendon Pain?

You likely don’t think about your Achilles tendon — until it starts to hurt. That pain, often preceded by a popping sound, can make it difficult even to walk. Learn the common causes of Achilles tendon injuries and how to get back in the game afterward.
The Benefits of a Professional Gait Analysis

The Benefits of a Professional Gait Analysis

The way you move has a remarkable impact on your health. Even minor mechanical flaws in your stride can cause long-term damage that could lead to chronic pain. Professional gait analysis is a tool to help you perform at a higher level.