Tennis Elbow - Quick (and Easy!) Stretches and Exercises To Keep Your Backhand On Point
I've seen quite a few cases of tennis elbow come through the clinic over the last few months - and not all caused by playing Tennis! While tennis is a great sport that many people enjoy, it can be very demanding, with hard starts and stops, and quick, powerful movements. As such, there is always a risk for injury.
A common injury typically experienced by tennis players is...Tennis Elbow. Quite the appropriate name! Essentially, Tennis Elbow (a.k.a. lateral epicondylitis) is a repetitive strain injury, meaning that it occurs after repeating the same action over and over again. In tennis, this particular action is involved in the backhand shot. And, even if you don’t play tennis at all, you can still develop this condition if you perform activities that require repetitive wrist extension (i.e. holding things stead while wood working, gardening, etc).
Simply put, this condition involves pain at the outside (lateral) aspect of your elbow. Take a moment and touch the bony aspect on the outside of your elbow. Now, bend (extend) your wrist backwards or make your hand into a fist and then open it - you should feel something moving, despite your elbow remaining stationary.
The muscles that allow us to perform these movements have a common attachment point at the outside of the elbow. When we hit backhand after backhand, trying to be like Roger Federer, the muscles can fatigue, which can lead to inflammation (and pain).
But, don't fret too much! Tennis Elbow can be easily treated with rest, ice, proper manual therapy, a stretching/strengthening regimen, and a very simple elbow brace (when required). These stretches/exercises here can be performed before you hit the court, and can help you avoid injury!