Tennis elbow is a condition caused by over use of the elbow resulting in pain. Tennis elbow is actually inflammation of the tendons that join the outside of the elbow to the forearm muscles.Most people who get tennis elbow are over thirty and under fifty years old. Playing tennis or racket ball (repetitive motion) is but one way to get tennis elbow. Painters, construction workers and plumbers often get tennis elbow and even automobile mechanics, cooks and butchers are more prone to getting tennis elbow.
Physical therapy is often recommended for people who suffer from this illness. However, often a series of simple exercises done well are affective enough to relieve the symptoms.
– Pain and/or burning in the outer elbow
– A weakness or inability to grip firmly
In order to identify the presence of tennis elbow, you should consult your medical professional. He will ask questions about when you began feeling the pain or weakness and what types of activities brought it on. In order to pinpoint the problem, he may take X-rays, MRI and EMG to rule out compression on the nerves. Once he has determined that you are in fact suffering from tennis elbow, he may refer you to a physical therapist.
Tennis elbow requires a lot of patience. In most cases it takes from five to seven weeks to feel somewhat back to normal. There are simple exercises that you can do on your own to speed healing of tennis elbow. These exercises have been used for years by professionals and they are very effective. Not only do the exercises help the injury heal; they also help prevent it from returning. With that in mind, tennis elbow exercises should be part of your normal routine for several months after the injury is healed.
Tennis Elbow Exercises
- Eccentric Exercise
You will need a light weight dumbbell or a bottle of water (or a tin of food). Sit comfortably in a chair that has an armrest. The weight should be in your hand pointed down. Your arm should rest on the armrest to the wrist with the palm down and the hand in front of the armrest.Let your wrist lower with the weight in your hand. Now raise the weight by moving only the hand and the wrist to the starting position. The movements should be slow and steady. Repeat the exercise ten times. You will do this three times per day.
- Forearm stretch
Stretching is an important part of healing. It strengthens the muscles and increases blood flow to the affected area. For this exercise you will stretch your arm in front of you at a 90 degree angle parallel with the floor. Your thumb will be pointed down and your hand will be positioned as if you were pouring out a bottle of water. With your unaffected hand grasp your fingers on the injured arm. Slowly bed the fingers down stretching the muscles in the arm and hold for 30 seconds. These stretches should be done 2-4 times per day.
- Ball squeeze
Hold a soft rubber ball or tennis ball in the hand of your affected arm. Squeeze the ball as tight as you can. Hold it for three seconds. Repeat this ten times. As you go, work on holding the ball longer. The goal is 10 seconds or more. This exercise should be done twice and repeated every other day.
For more information on the cause and treatment of tennis elbow visit www.physioandmore.co.uk