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Tennis Elbow

November 29 2022
Tennis Elbow

What is tennis elbow?

Lateral epicondylitis—aka tennis elbow—occurs when the tendons adjoined to the outer part of the elbow become inflamed. Tendons are the strong connective tissues that connect muscles to bones. Tennis elbow specifically has to do with the tendons of the extensor muscles in the forearm (the muscles that pull the wrist back and extend the fingers). These muscles connect to the outer boney protrusion of the humerus (the arm bone) at the elbow.

When you overdo it with your arm and wrist, mostly by performing motions repetitively, you can end up with tennis elbow. The overly-done motion can cause inflamed tendons, and you will feel pain.

What causes tennis elbow?

Many individuals experience tennis elbow from playing the sport, but there are many things that involve repetitive arm and wrist motions that can also cause the condition. Examples are playing an instrument, working with tools, and even painting. It is typical in pickleball that tennis elbow is caused by a paddle that is too light. In order to provide power- a player swings harder and overextends their follow through causing repeated strain on the elbow

We will get to some helpful exercises in a moment, but it's important to understand that tennis elbow is caused by overuse, so it's important to rest. Note that it can take a few weeks to even months to recover from tennis elbow.

What helps with tennis elbow pain?

To treat the condition, anti-inflammatory medications are helpful, as well as putting ice on the pained area. Some situations may warrant physical therapy.

Once the inflammation has subsided and if a healthcare provider says it's okay for you to start exercising again, you can—but let pain be your guide. Exercise can potentially make tennis elbow worse, so if it's hurting, stop what you're doing." If you suffer from tennis elbow, try adding more weight to your paddle. You’ll be able to get more power with less effort and less over swinging.

Check out these exercises that can be very helpful.

Squeezing exercises

You can use a towel, a soft ball, a sponge, or a rolled-up sock to perform these exercises. Squeezing the object repeatedly and then releasing it will enhance your grip strength.

Wrist curls

This exercise is kind of like doing a bicep curl except just with your wrist. Grasp a light weight in your hand, and, keeping your arm extended outward and facing up, curl your wrist inward, then relax. This exercise can also be performed by keeping your arm face-down and bending your wrist upward before relaxing.

Finger stretches

For this next move, you will need to place a rubber band around your thumb and fingers. Spread your fingers apart, then bring them back together. Perform this exercise 10 to 30 times.

Wrist twists

This exercise has you supporting your elbow on your knee or on a flat surface while holding the end of a light weight. Your palm should be face-down, keeping the weight pointed toward the floor. Rotate the weight to bring your palm face-up, then bring it back to the starting position. Perform wrist twists several times.


Keeping your arm extended and your palm facing the floor, use the opposite arm to pull your hand downward while bending the wrist into a stretched position. Stay in this position for 30 seconds. Perform this stretch several times each day.

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