Thursday, June 25, 2009

5 Strategies to Rid Yourself of Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis, as it is known in the medical world, involves irritation of the common extensor tendon at the lateral epicondyle of the elbow. That sounded a little technical. To put things plainly, the lateral epicondyle is a bony knob on the outside of the elbow where the tendon of the muscles that extend the wrist attaches. With overuse this tendinous attachment can become inflamed resulting in pain.

Due to the fact that tennis elbow is often an overuse type of condition, rest is usually indicated to fully recover and return to 100% of normal function. Besides rest, these 5 tips will get you on the road to recovery.

Strategy #1 - Ice cup massage
If you are currently experiencing symptoms of tennis elbow, a very inexpensive home treatment involves filling a dixie cup with water and placing it in the freezer. After the water has frozen, remove the cup, peel back the top until the ice is exposed and then slowly rub the ice over the lateral epicondyle. The recommended time is 5-7 minutes, no longer.

Strategy #2 - Transverse friction massage
Another home treatment involves finding the most tender spot along the tendinous attachment at the lateral epicondyle and rubbing back forth in a perpendicular direction with a moderate amount of pressure. After several minutes, the area should begin to feel less pain or even a numb sensation. If more pain is provoked then lessen your pressure. Limit the treatment to no more than 5 minutes and ice afterwards.

Strategy #3 - Stretch the wrist extensors
Because the wrist extensors and their common tendon are involved in this condition, stretching such tissue is important. Follow the picture and hold for 30 seconds. Repeat 2 times.

Strategy #4 - Strengthen the wrist extensors
Tennis elbow occurs when the wrist extensors cannot meet the demand being placed on them. So, increasing strength is vital to preventing this condition from returning. Pain should not occur with the strengthening exercise pictured below. If pain does occur lessen the weight being used or you may have to postpone strengthening a week or two until inflammation has reduced.

Strategy #5 - Use a tennis elbow brace
Another option to reduce irritation at the lateral epicondyle is to use a tennis elbow brace or band. These bands are worn just below the lateral epicondyle and work by reducing the amount of stress that is transmitted to the tendinous attachment at the lateral epicondyle.

No comments:

Post a Comment