Preventing and Treating Tennis Elbow in Tennis Players (Part V)

Rehabilitation of Injury: Combined Effects

A)     Therapy: Rest can help, but to correct the disorder at its root cause, rehabilitation therapy, if performed correctly, can greatly increase the rate of recovery.

1)      Massage.  This modality can help a lot with increasing flexibility and range-of-motion (ROM) back to the injured arm while reducing pain levels in the arm that is afflicted with both acute and latent Tennis Elbow myofascial Trigger Points. Be sure that you find a competent massage therapist that specializes in sports injuries.

2)      Physical Therapy. The tools used by a physical therapist can often be very beneficial, such as T.E.N.S, Ultrasound, Infra-Red Light laser, Sinewave, Phonophoresis and other modalities to help reduce pain and irritation, while increasing strength and flexibility. 

B)      Stretch: Making sure that overly short, taught muscles in the upper extremity are lengthened is important in order to increase flexibility and dexterity of the tissues which in turn reduces the amount of tensile stress imposed on the antagonist muscles (extensors) as they try to maintain equilibrium around the wrist, elbow and shoulder joints, thus reducing overall symptoms of Tennis elbow

1)      Shoulder: Anterior deltoid.

2)      Forearm: Finger and wrist flexors, forearm pronators and ulnar deviators of wrist through implementation of active Flextend stretches.

C)      Exercise: Strengthening the long, weak muscles is critical for not only injury prevention but rehabilitation of Tennis Elbow as well.  Strengthening the muscles surrounding the elbow joint provide stability to the joint in all directions and is a necessity for athletes of all types, especially tennis players, in order to prevent eliminate the existing disorder as well as prevent future damage to the extensor group.

1)      Shoulder: Posterior deltoid.

2)       Forearm: Finger, wrist and elbow extensors, forearm supinators and radial deviators of wrist, utilizing active Flextend exercises.

In summary, it is critical that tennis players have a multi-pronged approach in preparing for play, preventing an injury and rehabilitating it if one does occur.  Although preparation and prevention are the keys to avoiding injury (very important), knowing how to eliminate tennis elbow is equally valuable.  The reason for this is that even with the utmost preparation, circumstances can still happen where an injury occurs, and the individual will need to perform the “correct” steps to eliminate it in order to get back on the court pain-free, and as soon as possible.  Stay healthy!     

(1)    Runge F. Zur Genese und Behandlung des Schreibekrampfes. Berliner Klin Wochenschr. 1873;10:245–248.

(2)     Major HP. “Lawn-tennis elbow”. BMJ. 1883; 2:557.

(3)    Sports Medicine – Prevention, Evaluation, Management, and Rehabilitation.  Authors: Steven Roy / Richard Irvin

(4)    Priest JD, Braden V, Gerberich SG: the elbow and tennis. Part 1. An analysis of players with and without pain.  Phys Sportsmed 8.81-91, April 1980 and Priest JD, Braden V, Gerberich SG: the elbow and tennis. Part 2. A study of players with pain. Phys Sportsmed 8.77-85, May 1980

(5)    Priest JD, Tennis elbow. The syndrome and a study of average players.  Minn Med 59:367-371, 1976.

(6)    Travell and Simmons: Myofascial Pain and Dysfunction – The Trigger Point Manual Volume 1. The Upper Extremities. P. 487-488

(7)    Travell J, Rinzler SH: The Myofascial Genesis of Pain. Postgrad Med 11:425-434, 1952 (p. 428)

(8)    Sports Medicine – Prevention, Evaluation, Management, and Rehabilitation.  Authors: Steven Roy / Richard Irvin (P.222-224)

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