Coaching Tip - July 2018

    Tennis elbow
    A common injury for Tennis players and others

    Tennis is a fast paced intense sport which can be played on a variety of different surfaces and this may contribute to a range of different Player injuries.
    Tennis elbow is one of the more common injuries.

    What is Tennis elbow?
    Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis in medical terminology is a condition which commonly affects tennis players – Social and competitive – as a result of the constant strain on the elbow joint and the overuse of the tendons and muscles surrounding that joint.
    Tennis elbow is caused by the inflammation of one or more tendons around the elbow most commonly the tendon in the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle ( in medical terms) becomes inflamed.  This tendon is located below the outer side of the elbow.
    Tennis elbow in most cases occurrs as a result of overuse and the repeated bending of the wrist.
    This condition can occurr from activities other than playing Tennis.
    In playing Tennis tennis elbow may be caused by

    • poor technique

    for example on the forehand the player may be using an incorrect grip i.e. a continental grip instead of one of the preferred grips i.e Semi Western which results in an elbow movement (bend) in an attempt to generate topsin.
    This repeated action will put pressure on the elbow tendons and joint.

    • Playing with wet Tennis balls

           Tennis balls absorb water when they get wet and as a result will get heavier.
    Players will find that it feels like they are hitting a rock instead of a tennis ball and the extra weight and jarring effect will put more pressure (strain) on their elbow.

    • Playing Tennis with tighter strings

    Increases the strain on the elbow
    When using tighter strings players will find that the ball comes off the racquet differently i.e less time for the ball on the strings gives a more jarring effect.
    This is contrast to having more feel when the ball stays on the strings longer with the looser strings
    The common syptoms of Tennis elbow are

    • Localised pain in the elbow

    The area of pain will be on or near the inflammed tendon

    • Restricted movement in the wrist and/or elbow
    • Pain increase when the fingers are straightened or the hand is bent back
    • Pain increases noticeably when the player attempts to continue with the match or hit

    Tennis elbow is an overuse injury so the elbow should be rested to allow time to heal.
    In addition to the rest period there are other treatments which will help recovery

    • Ice the injured area as indicated by pain and restricted movement

    Remember not to apply ice directly to the skin but use an ice pack wrapped in a towel or like and apply regularly with 20 minutes on then 2 hours off for the first 24 to 48 hours.

    • Players would be wise to make an appointment to see their Physio or Sports Clinic to get the injury checked out.

    They may be able to help increase the flexibility in the elbow joint and will give advice on excercises and additional treatment to help strengthen the muscles and tendons suurounding the elbow.

    • Accupuncture has proven to improve recovery for many suffers of Tennis elbow.

    Check out this option to aid your quick recovery.

    You may recover reasonably quickly from your bout of Tennis Elbow but it would be a good idea to take a note of the tips below to try to prevent the condition happening again.


    • I would recommend that Tennis players who get Tennis elbow frequently or live with the condition consult their local Tennis Coach.

    It would be a good idea for them to book a lesson so that the Coach can check out your technique particularly on the forehand to see if that is the cause of your Tennis elbow.

    • Tennis Players should have an established warm up and cool down routines and make sure that this routine is not only followed before and after their Tennis training and matches but also before any other form of Physical excercise.

    Incorporate the excercises recommended by your Physio, Coach or Sports Physician.

    In addition

    • Your Physio, Doctor or Sports Clinic may recommend wearing an elbow support or brace to protect

    the tendon(s) during Tennis training/matches and other physical activities

    I hope that you have found this article on Tennis elbow injuries enlightening and in particular have found the sections on treatment and prevention of some benefit.

    Contact me if you have comments or queries in regard to Tennis elbow.
    Do you have any remedies homemade or otherwise.

    Tennis the game of a lifetime
    Enjoy your Tennis experience

    Coach Steve