Five Ways to Prevent Tennis Elbow for Tennis Players

Tennis Elbow is a common problem among tennis players, and it can be a very debilitating medical condition. Tennis elbow is very hard to stop once it starts, and usually treatment only focuses on alleviating the symptoms. As a tennis player, it is important to prevent tennis elbow from occurring, so that you do not have to deal with the pain and constant inflammation. Here are five ways a tennis player can prevent tennis elbow, especially if he or she plays tennis on a regular basis.

Use the Right Racquet While Playing Tennis

If you are backhand serving in tennis and have a good technique, it will not matter if you are using the wrong racquet. As a tennis player, it is important to always use the right racquet and grip for the game, whether you are playing for fun or as a professional. It will not matter how much skill you have if you are using the wrong equipment, and using the wrong equipment will likely lead to injuries or tennis elbow. Using the wrong grip, racquet, strings or balls will add to the stress on your body, including your shoulders and elbow. In order to prevent tennis elbow, you need to avoid as much stress as possible on your elbows and shoulders, which is done by using the right equipment at all times. If you are not sure you are using the right racquet or other equipment, you should consult a tennis instructor, and he or she can give you the right direction.

Allow For Rest In Between Tennis Matches

One way that a tennis player can prevent tennis elbow, is to always allow for rest in between tennis matches. The elbow is just like every other body part, in that it needs time to rest and heal, before continuing a sport such as tennis. If you do not allow the muscles to rest in the elbow, then it is more likely that pain or injury will occur. If a tennis player feels pain in the elbow or arm, it is important that he or she allows for at least 24 hours rest before picking up the tennis racquet again. Taking a break from tennis and resting, is the only way that muscles in the elbow will be able to heal and rebuild. If you continue to play tennis without rest or breaks, the mild pain can turn into severe pain, which can turn into a serious injury such as tennis elbow. For example, if a tennis player has four games in a week, make sure that the three days off are filled with resting, and during this time the elbow should not be overused. Do not practice every day either on the days off from a match, because this does not give the elbow or shoulders time to rest, and the elbow does not need the added stress.

Know the Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

One of the easiest ways a tennis player can prevent tennis elbow in the first place, is to know the symptoms to look out for regarding the condition. Knowledge is power and in this situation, you should know what pain to be on the lookout for, which can actually help prevent tennis elbow from starting. Some of the most common symptoms of tennis elbow include pain and weakness in the arm, which can extend up to the shoulders or down to the hands. If you feel these symptoms begin, you will be able to diagnose and treat tennis elbow earlier, which might prevent a more severe case of tennis elbow. If you notice pain in your elbow, arms, and shoulders, then maybe you should take a break from tennis for a while or see a doctor. Ignoring pain or weakness associated with tennis elbow, will make the condition progress, and then you might not be able to stop the symptoms at all.

Use an Elbow Brace

As a tennis player, it is also important to use an elbow brace at all times, if you feel you lack the support you need during the game. Using an elbow brace will help support the elbow, while also preventing the elbow from going in awkward directions, which might cause tennis elbow. Using an elbow brace is optional, but great for a tennis player that has trouble with ergonomics and proper technique. Wearing an elbow brace will not make your game or skills better, but it will not hinder your abilities either, it is just used for support. Just like with any other sport, wearing protective equipment or supportive gear, will lessen the chances of injury, and can improve your overall mechanics. If you notice you are having some pain while playing tennis, it is better to wear an elbow brace at that point, than letting the pain turn into something worse like tennis elbow.

Stretch and Warm Up Before Playing Tennis

Warming up and stretching before playing tennis, can help a tennis player prevent many different injuries. Warming up is just what it sounds like; it is a way to warm up the muscles, which can make the muscles more flexible. When the muscles are warm it can help prevent injuries such as tennis elbow, since the muscles will not be as stressed and will have been gradually introduced into tennis. It is never good to play any sport without warming up and performing simple stretches, because it adds pressure onto the muscles, and this is how injuries occur. For a tennis player, simple arm and shoulder exercises can help warm up the muscles, which will help prevent tennis elbow and other injuries. You do not have to warm up for very long before playing tennis, but give yourself at least 10 minutes to stretch and warm up the muscles.

I worked in the dietary department of a hospital for three years, went to vocational school for Allied Health, and obtained certification in nurse assisting.

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Updated Sunday, Oct 23, 2011