Chiropractic Care for Tennis Elbow
If you have pain or burning on the outside of your elbow that worsens when gripping objects, shaking hands, or performing other tasks that require turning your forearm and underside of your wrist over, you could have tennis elbow – even if you don’t play tennis!
Tennis elbow is a painful condition that results from overuse and repetitive motions utilizing the arms and hands. It can be acute, due to inflammation of the joint, or chronic, due to degenerative microtears in the tendons that attach the muscles to the outside of the elbow.
Its name is misleading because it doesn’t only affect tennis or other racquet-sport players. Baseball players, swimmers, golfers, actually anyone who performs sports or other activities that require repetitive and energetic use of the forearm muscle or repeated extension of the hand and wrist can experience tennis elbow pain.
Repetitive stress causes tendons in the area to become irritated and inflamed, resulting in pain in the bony knob on the outside of the elbow that can even radiate up and down the arm. The area can become so sensitive that even typing on the computer or turning a doorknob is difficult.
Fortunately, sports chiropractic specializes in the prevention and treatment of this type of injury.
Preventing Tennis Elbow
Proper technique and equipment are both important, but conditioning the joint is also helpful. Conditioning exercises for tennis elbow help stretch and strengthen the muscles in the wrist and forearm before play and on recovery days.
Exercises for Tennis Elbow
Get down on the ground on all fours with the fingers pointed back toward the thighs. Lightly press into the ground while gently rocking back and forth. After 30-60 seconds, turn the hands over so the knuckles are face down but the fingers are still pointed toward the thighs (palms up). Make sure not to put your full body weight onto your wrists. You want to apply just enough pressure to feel the stretch in the underside of the arm.
To do this from a standing position, place one arm straight out in front of you and use the opposite hand to stretch the other in both directions: With energy in the working arm, bend at the wrist and point fingers towards the floor. Exacerbate the stretch by using the other hand to gently pull the fingers back toward the forearm. Hold. Next, with the arm still outstretched, point the fingers toward the ceiling and gently pull the fingers back toward the body. Repeat on both sides even if the pain is only on the dominant side.
Tennis balls are a valuable at-home rehab and recovery aid. Not only are they great for massaging out knots in muscles, but they are also an ironically effective tool for strengthening the wrists to prevent tennis elbow. Gripping and releasing the ball for two to three minutes several times throughout the day while gradually building up grip intensity is great for both prevention of, and active recovery from, tennis elbow.
Caring for Tennis Elbow
If you already have elbow pain, it is best to get it evaluated before the injury worsens. Beginning with a thorough assessment of your pain to determine the cause, sports chiropractic care employs a variety of helpful modalities to help relieve it.
Often, chiropractic limb adjustments to the wrist and elbow can reduce inflammation by allowing for greater mobility in the joints.
Electrical pulse stimulation improves blood flow to the area to encourage faster healing, and soft tissue work around the joint breaks up adhesions compressing tendons.
If you think you have tennis elbow, or just suffer from regular elbow pain, contact Dynamic Sports Medicine for an evaluation. We can address existing injuries as well as guide you through exercises for tennis elbow to prevent the initial onset or recurrence of this painful condition.