In the wake of Wimbledon last week and with the summer holidays around the corner, many inspired and enthusiastic tennis fans will be hitting the courts to hone their skills. Whether it be their quest to master the Federer backhand shot or the Karlovic serve (he hit no less than 165 aces coincidentally, more than any other competitor at Wimbledon 2015).
Of course, with an increase in training or game time can come an increased risk of injury, especially Tennis Elbow aka Lateral Epicondylitis which is one of the sports’ more common conditions.
However, fear not, as there is evasive action one can take to help avoid Tennis Elbow. Before we get to that though there are a few things you should know about the condition.
Tennis Elbow comes about as a result of overuse or overly forceful backhand shots where the wrist extensor muscles, which attach onto the outer part of the elbow, become irritated causing direct pain on the bone, muscles and tendons in the area.
Tennis Elbow isn’t just confined to tennis players though. Any job involving repetitive or twisting actions can cause it, such as turning screwdrivers or painting, plumbing and even using a mouse on the computer. For the tennis players especially, the good news is, you can help prevent Tennis Elbow with these three practical tips:-
- Use a lightweight graphite type racket with a larger head, softer string tension and with a bigger grip to avoid putting excess strain through the tendons.
- Warm up and gently stretch your arm muscles before & after playing – a particularly useful stretch is extending your arm out in front of you, whilst keeping the elbow straight, bend the wrist down with the other hand for a count of 10 and repeat three times.
- Improve your technique and posture – use your whole arm, shoulder and body to play the shot rather than just your elbow and wrist. Adopting the two handed backhand can also help.
For general sufferers of Tennis Elbow, here are three tips for you too:-
- Try to take a break from repetitive tasks.
- Alternate which hand you use when working with tools.
- Look into increasing the strength and flexibility of your forearm muscles.
Aside from these, a good additional tip for both sets of sufferers is to consider investing in a tennis elbow support.
Remember to keep these tips top of the mind should you wish to perform DIY on your house, rejuvenate your garden or even become the next Wimbledon champion.