Tips on how to deal with tennis elbow. Follow these steps to get you back on court:
Do not play through pain – your body is telling you something is not right. Rather, book in to see a physical therapist.
Identify what the cause was and minimise it for a while. In many cases there might have been a number of factors.
Get your forearm muscles stronger with wrist extension and wrist flexion exercises.
Massage the area. A technique called ‘transverse friction’ (or ‘crucifixions’ to those who have had it done to them and understand the pain) can help.
Ask a coach to assess your technique and make changes that could decrease the stress on your elbow.
Use a tennis elbow (or counterforce) brace. Remember to apply the brace about 10cm below the site of pain, not at the site of pain.
Apply ice to the affected area for at least 20 minutes after each time you are on court.
Apply the Gradual Progressive Overload Principle as you return to the court.
The best case scenario is to not get tennis elbow. Do whatever you can to prevent it. However, if you do feel like you have the symptoms, make sure you get the correct diagnosis. Once you have this, follow your treatment plan until you’re hitting winners all over the court. Happy hitting.
Grant Jenkins is the Physical Performance Coach at the National Academy Queensland in Australia. He oversees the physical development and rehabilitation of all the NAQ athletes. He also manages the Sport Science aspect of the program. Follow him on twitter @Grant_Jenkins or email firstname.lastname@example.org.