Is Tennis Elbow Treatable?
As the sun continues to shine in Melbourne the Australian Open reaches the semi-final stages. The heat has had an extensive amount of coverage with many complaining the conditions were beyond reasonable with examples of trainers melting and ice packs required mid game to cool players.
With temperatures soaring at the Australian Open it is a wonder that the semi finals have been reached, with players complaining of the heat on court and experiencing melting water bottles and trainers.
Heat exhaustion can increase fatigue levels in a player and with injury which has been a real risk to players competing with a number of upsets being blamed on the conditions. The tournament also saw the return of Andy Murray following back surgery and was knocked out in the Quarter Finals by a new and improved Roger Federer.
At the first major tournament of the year many players will have endured a nice rest over the Christmas period allowing their bodies enough time to recover before getting back into competitive action. With players such as Andy Murray missing the latter half of last season through injury he knows the importance of getting back to full fitness and being able to compete at the highest level this year.
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow affects the tendons and muscles surrounding the elbow joint, causing pain on the outside of the joint.. Tennis elbow can affect anyone undertaking a repetitive task and is not just limited to tennis, including playing the violin and painting..
The onset of tennis elbow can be gradual, with players noticing an increase in pain and inflammation of the joint following long periods of play, with inflammation restricting movement of the forearm. The condition itself can prevent a player from taking to court by hindering the function of their forearm from a movement and also grip perspective.
The condition is described as self-limiting though can take up to two years for a patient to recover fully which is sometimes impractical for the eager sportsperson. In the immediate aftermath of the onset of the injury it is important to cease your activity and rest to prevent the condition from worsening. Whilst it may be tempting to play through the pain this can lead to further damage and an even longer recovery period.
In more serious cases of the condition surgery may be used to remedy the issue and repair the tendons within the elbow joint. If you are unsure as to how severe your injury is then you should seek a professional diagnosis.
Treatment of Tennis Elbow
Rest is typically the best course of treatment you can prescribe, allowing the tendons to repair naturally before undertaking strengthening exercises and then returning to court. With a two year recovery period this is not always the most logical approach, with many players looking at sports braces as a means of getting back out onto the curt faster and remaining active.
A tennis elbow support is designed to specifically manage the condition, by applying compression to the affected area. The band sits just beneath the elbow joint, applying compression to the affected tendons which can help to manage any inflammation experienced. It can also allow you to remain active for longer, allowing you to continue playing tennis with improved mobility of the forearm and a reduced amount of pain.
Sports braces are typically designed to be worn post injury as part of your overall treatment plan and a tennis elbow support is no different. The use of a tennis elbow support during play can elongate your time on court, allowing you to play for longer, but should be used in conjunction with our treatment methods..
When searching for a tennis elbow support it is important to note that the product itself is the same as a golfers elbow band and the band is simply turned so that compression is applied to the outside of the elbow joint, compared to golfers elbow where the pain is centred on the inside of the joint.
Any sports injury can be very frustrating and sitting on the sidelines is never fun however you always need to be sensible and know your limits. Stopping following an injury can help to prevent the condition from getting worse, using ice to help manage any inflammation experienced. In the event that the condition fails to improve following a few days of rest then you should seek a professional diagnosis as a more extensive course of treatment may be prescribed.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Dave Regis discusses the use of orthotics for the management of sports injuries, reviewing injury rehabilitation through exercise and the use of bracing and supports. He frequently blogs and writes articles focussing on tennis elbow and methods of rehabilitation.