As a tennis player, your number one concern should be making that perfect serve… not the pain in your elbow! Tennis elbow can be completely debilitating, preventing you from playing the game you love. To ensure you're not benched throughout the summer, utilize one or more of these preventative strategies to keep your elbows in great shape.
If you do not already see a chiropractor for regular spinal adjustments, now is the time to start. When your spine is not properly aligned, you may stand slightly to one side or put more strain on one arm without even realizing it. Your poor posture increases the risk of tennis elbow since your tendons will be put under more strain than necessary.
When you visit your chiropractor, make sure you tell him or her that you are a tennis player. They can then focus on the areas of your spine that are most affected by your swing. They may also palpate the tendons in your arm and tell you whether there are any beginning signs of tightness that could develop into tennis elbow.
Stretching before and after every workout can go a long ways towards preventing tennis elbow. First, it stretches out the tendons themselves, which is helpful since tennis elbow begins as a shortening and tightening of the tendons. Second, it stretches out the muscles in your elbow, which may lead to tennis elbow if they remain tight and pull on your tendons.
Here are two good stretches to get you started:
Wrist Flexor Stretch: Hold your arm in front of you with the palm facing the ceiling. Bend your wrist backwards so your hand points towards the floor. Hold the stretch for 15 seconds. Repeat 5 times with each wrist.
Wrist Extensor Stretch: Hold your arm in front of you with the palm facing the floor. Bend your wrist under your arm so that your palm faces towards your body. Hold this stretch for 15 seconds, and repeat 5 times per wrist.
There's generally no need to have a professional massage your elbow, though this can be enjoyable and effective. You can massage your elbow joint yourself for a few minutes after every workout. This stimulates blood flow to the area and also helps reduce any stiffness before it has a chance to develop into a full-blown injury like tennis elbow. Just use your thumb and forefinger, and rub in circular motions beginning at the middle of your upper arm, and working your way down to your forearm. For more information, contact a business such as Hidden Valley Chiropractic.