10 Tips To Prevent Tennis Elbow
Once the symptoms of tennis elbow begin, there is no choice but to focus on treatment. Before tennis elbow injuries occur and after they occur, the best thing to do is to focus on preventing tennis elbow.
1. Use proper backhand technique.
The backhand stroke is most commonly responsible for tennis elbow injuries. Having a skilled coach evaluate your backhand and teach proper technique is essential to avoiding tennis elbow. It takes practice to be able to make that swing properly, so take the time and develop the skills to hit backhand properly as often as possible to reduce tennis elbow risks. Before beginning backhand technique practice, make the time to warm up and stretch the tendon to further increase the chances of not suffering with tennis elbow. A warm muscle will stretch more and be less susceptible to injury. Look around for a good warm-up routine and stick with it.
2. Use the correct equipment when playing tennis.
Hitting backhand, even with a good technique, with the wrong racquet will increase the risk of injury and tennis elbow. Go to a reputable equipment shop that has trained sales people. The correct racquet will prevent excessive stress when hitting the ball with a backhand stroke. Start with a grip that matches your hand. A grip that is too big or small will make you have to work harder. The wrong size head, strings that are at the wrong tension, heavy balls, and lack of vibration dampener can all add to increasing the risks of developing tennis elbow.
3. Do strengthening exercises
A good coach will be able to evaluate your needs and help you with a strengthening exercise program that will help you prevent tennis elbow. A general strengthening exercise is to take hand weights with palms down, elbow cocked, and bend wrists. Repeat as often as needed to strengthen muscles. Be sure to stop if there is any pain. Pain is a sign that rest is required for healing.
4. Stretch and warm-up before playing tennis
A warm-up actually does warm the muscles. A warm muscle is a preventative to all injuries and it includes tennis elbow. Forcing a cold muscle to stretch and bend will cause stress on the elbow.
5. Lift properly
Lifting puts stress on the elbow. Improper lifting will put added and unnecessary stress on the elbow increasing the possibility of tennis elbow. To lift properly the palms should be facing the body. This will put the least amount of stress on the elbows and reduce tennis elbow risks.
6. Include times of rest in tennis playing schedule
The elbow needs times of rest. If pain is present, before further damage occurs from the body compensating for the pain, take a break from the activity that is causing discomfort. It is during rest that the body can repair and rebuild. Without rest, a small discomfort can turn into a mild case of tennis elbow. Continuing to play it can turn into a severe case of tennis elbow.
7. Keep wrists straight
With a straight wrist during a tennis stroke or any repetitive activity, the larger muscles in the arm will take on the bulk of the stress. These muscles are better designed for the task than the muscles that are used when the wrist is not bent. By simply keeping the wrists straight will help prevent tennis elbow. In addition, when doing any lifting, keep the palms facing the body to prevent tennis elbow.
8. Apply ice to elbow
Proper post-workout care will prevent tennis elbow. By applying ice to the elbow, (a bag of frozen vegetables works well because it conforms to the shape of the elbow) before symptoms occur, will keep tennis elbow symptoms from occurring.
9. Use an elbow brace
Use an elbow brace or band to prevent tennis elbow, it will provide the support needed. A properly designed elbow brace will not impede circulation
10. Don’t ignore common sense
It’s a rather vague tip, but an important one. Be educated on tennis elbow so that you are familiar with its symptoms so you can treat tennis elbow as early as possible while it is still a mild case. If it hurts, stop…..listen to your body.
With common sense, you can combine any combination of prevention tips that you need to avoid the pain and weakness associated with tennis elbow.