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How to Prevent and Recover from Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow gets its name because of the powerful repeated arm movements made during racket sports that commonly trigger this condition. The tendons attaching muscle to bone in your arm can be damaged during any sport or occupation that causes repetitive strain. 

When you overwork these tendons, micro-tears develop and cause inflammation, stiffness, and pain. Left untreated, the damage worsens, affecting the range of motion in your arm and your ability to grip and grasp. 

At Performance Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine in Shrewsbury and Toms River, New Jersey, our team of orthopedic specialists has you covered when you’re concerned about developing tennis elbow or experiencing any sort of elbow pain. 

Here are our tips to prevent and recover from tennis elbow.

Preventing tennis elbow

Also known as elbow tendinitis or lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow affects the tendons that allow you to bend your wrist backward. If your job or sport involves frequent arm or wrist movements, try these tips to prevent an injury.

Warm up

Whether you’re playing sports, lifting weights, or working in a physically demanding field, warmups are the first step in preventing damage to your tendons. 

Warmup exercises that help to prevent tennis elbow include:

Refine your form

Protecting your back and knees from injury during heavy lifting is common knowledge. Your arms benefit from similar attention. Repetitive motion can damage the tendons in your forearms if you’re not using the proper form. 

When lifting heavy objects, keep your elbows bent and palms flat, and hold the object close to your chest. If you regularly play sports like tennis, baseball, or golf, consult a trainer or coach to make sure you’re using the correct form.

Take breaks

The simplest solution to prevent elbow tendinitis is to reduce the amount of repeated strain on your wrists and forearms. 

If you play a racket sport, for example, consider breaking up your training with running or another activity. In the workplace, alternate between tasks to avoid repetitive stress, or take regular breaks.

Use the right equipment

For tennis and other racket sports, playing with the wrong size racket can throw off more than your game. A racket that’s too large and heavy or too small and light causes unnecessary strain on the tendons in your arm with every swing.

Make sure the tools you use at work are appropriately sized for you as well. Strain from gripping something too large for your hands can cause lasting damage to your tendons. 

Anti-vibration work gloves can be a lifesaver if you regularly work with power tools and heavy equipment. These gloves absorb the vibrations from the equipment, reducing the harmful effect on your forearms. 

Pace yourself

Mild symptoms of tennis elbow get worse with repeated irritation of the inflamed tendons. To prevent lasting damage, stop the activity that’s causing you pain until you can be evaluated by one of our team.

Recovering from injury

Modify your activities and get lots of rest while you recover from tennis elbow. If your symptoms don’t show improvement, further therapy or multiple treatment modalities may be necessary. 

Depending on the severity of your elbow tendinitis and the symptoms you’re experiencing, we may recommend one or more of the following treatments:

At Performance Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine, we understand the importance of a quick recovery to getting back in the game. We specialize in elbow injury diagnosis and treatment, so if tennis elbow is a concern, call us to schedule an appointment at the office nearest you.

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