Effective tennis elbow treatment involves a complicated process of finding the source of the problem. When dealing with chronic tennis elbow, one must act like a detective and figure out all the complicating factors that might cause the not only the pain caused but the problem to the muscle. To understand tennis elbow we must look at what tennis elbow is and how it starts. Fixing tennis elbow sounds like all you have to do is avoid the use of your elbow and the problem is solved. However, there are several complicating factors such as: shoulder movement restrictions, decreased hand strength, as well as functional biomechanics of your swing that could be a culprit to the problem.
Tennis elbow is a condition in which there is an irritation due to chronic repetitive use of the wrist extensors. The symptoms of tennis elbow are as follow:
- Pain is felt on the outside of the elbow. It is more common for the pain to gradual increase over time.
- Pain is worse when shaking hands or squeezing objects and can usually be associated with a feeling of weakness.
- Examples include lifting, using tools, opening jars, or even handling simple utensils such as a toothbrush or knife and fork.
- As the name suggests tennis elbow is very common in tennis players due to the repetitive nature of the game. The best tennis elbow treatment to keep you from getting tennis elbow would to be to follow the exercises listed below. Tennis elbow treatment is very difficult especially when a player doesn’t want to take time off from playing. Making sure to do these stretches and exercises everyday will help eliminate the problem from occurring.
- PIR Stretch- PIR is an effective technique that causes brief periods of relaxation in the muscle following a contraction. This allows a greater stretch to occur within the muscle.
- Rubber Band Exercises- Take a variety of rubber band thicknesses and using your fingers open the rubber band and put them around a cup that is above a 3 inch diameter. This should be a difficult task for some of the tougher or tighter rubber bands.
- Ice Cup Massage- Using a dixie cup (6-10oz cup) fill up half way with water and then put in the freezer. Once frozen, rip off the top of the cup until you expose about an half inch of ice. You can now use the cup portion remaining as a “handle” and rub over the top of your arm. Focus on the areas that might be tender and press and rub in the area. This is a great way to keep inflammation from occurring in that area and is an terrific method to use following a practice or tough series of matches.
- Rice Exercise- Fill a 5 gallon bucket with rice about half full with rice. Immerse your hand until you are halfway to your elbow. Using the force applied by the rice, make a fist and bring your wrist forward and back 30 times and then switch to going from side to side 30 times. Next, open and close your hand in the bucket 30 times. Take rest as needed but work to complete 30 repetitions in each direction.
Treatment (Professional Options)
- Deep tissue laser treatment– Using a class 4 laser such as the Lite Cure EX laser, a treatment can work to eliminate the inflammation at the cellular level. Laser treatment is a highly successful treatment in treatment and prevention of tennis elbow. When looking for a laser therapy clinic, make sure that you ask the power of the laser as you want something in the range of above 10 Watts. A lower powered laser is not going to apply the required dosage to create dramatic change in the tissue.
- Sports Massage Therapy– specialized massage therapy technique that is designed for optimizing the function of the muscle and promoting a healing environment for the surrounding muscles. This technique will utilize an active approach to massage therapy and has the patient perform certain stretches and motions while massage is being done.
- DMS– Massage tool that is used by several professional sports teams. The massage tool uses high frequency vibration therapy to help promote circulation and break up adhesions in the tissue.
- Graston Technique– A massage technique that will use stainless steel massage tools to help break up adhesions and allow greater range of motion of the muscle. This can be a very rewarding choice but tends to be on the painful side.
- PRP Injection– This is a great method in which they take your own platelet cells and put them within the tendon to allow healing at an accelerated level. This usually requires a patient to wear a brace and have minimal use of the arm while healing. Most insurance companies will not cover this procedure and would recommend someone that does this under live ultrasound.