How to Treat Tennis Elbow

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Question: What can I do to treat tennis elbow? It has gotten to the point it’s difficult to shake hands and destroyed my golf game.

Answer: That sounds severe. First, go see an orthopedist and let the medical professional determine if you need a prescription strength anti-inflammatory as a front line treatment.

If prescription strength is not needed then the usual treatment according to one of the physical therapists here at the gym is ice. The simplest method is usually the most effective in treating this issue. The ice cools the surface tissue then the layers of the skin into the muscle and tendons in the area. The small blood vessels and capillaries tend to constrict closer to the surface and the deeper vessels and capillaries expand slightly which allows a slightly greater blood flow in the deep tissue.

Leave the ice on the area for ten to twelve minutes. Let the surface skin return to a normal temperature and repeat as frequently as you can for three days.

Then if you feel improvement you can reduce the frequency to three to four times a day.

After seven to ten days you should have major relief for the sharp pain.

Sometimes over the counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers help in conjunction with the ice treatment.

Once you’re pain free it’s time to begin strengthening your forearm flexor muscles.

  1. You can begin with a light weight dumbbell wrist curl for one or two sets of 10-15 reps per set.
  2. Follow those with the reverse motion of the same exercise. These usually require a slightly lower weight but the sets and reps are the same.

After a couple of weeks of doing these exercises three times a week along with gripping exercises using a tennis ball for sets of 15 reps you can try an old Bruce Lee forearm exercise using a dumbbell with a weight only on one side.

  • Fully support your forearm on a bench holding the end of the dumbbell without the weight. Rotate your wrist like a windshield wiper for 5 to 10 reps in each direction. This is a light weight exercise meant to be performed with a deliberate, slow rep speed. Do two or three sets. These exercise should help prevent a recurrence of your elbow issues.

God bless and keep training,
Daryl

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