Are you a tennis fanatic?

Summer marks tennis mania!!! Koepka won the 2017 US Open, Nadal won the 2017 French Open and who will win this year's Wimbledon? We'll find out in a couple of weeks. 

Tennis is a fantastic sport for keeping fit and can burn 400-500 calories or more in one hour. Its a high-impact aerobic workout, so whether you play indoors or outdoors, its important to listen to your body and take it easy when something doesn't feel quite right. Always warm up prior to a match with simple exercises and remember stretch. 

Sprinting, jumping, jarring, hitting those groundstrokes and repetitive movements all put your body at risk for injury. Two-thirds of tennis injuries are caused by overuse.  The most common types of injuries experienced by tennis players include shoulder rotator cuff tears, stress fractures of the back, jumpers knee, ankle sprains and tennis elbow. 

According to the Cleveland Clinic, tennis elbow will affect 10-50% of tennis players over the course of their careers. Roughly 3% of the general population will experience tennis elbow at some point in their life. It is also more likely to affect men than woman, and more frequently appears among people in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

Tennis elbow is caused by repetitive motion of the elbows and causes strains to the surrounding muscles. It is not only seen among tennis players, but can also affect golfers (also known as golfer's elbow), baseball players, gardeners, bowlers, painters, musicians, assembly-line workers and contractors. 

Physical therapists can help to diagnose tennis elbow, as can physicians who can confirm the diagnosis with ultrasound and MRI. The most common symptom are aches and pains around the elbow. Common treatments include exercise, physical therapy and/or medications. Rarely is surgery required.

The most imporant thing to do is rest and allow your elbow time to recover and heal.  In some cases, wearing a wrist splint at night, icing the area and applying a topical cortisone cream helps to bring pain relief. Taking medications including anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofin, naproxin or aspirin, also reduce pain and swelling.

Following some rest (yes, including a brief hiatus from tennis), its important to recover with excercise and physical therapy. Therapy will consist of carefully selected exercises to stretch out, lengthen and strengthen the muscles and tendons near the injured elbow.

By following this advice, approximately 95% of people will get better after a few weeks. If not, its time to return to the doctor for others options. 

If you think you have tennis elbow, visit your physician or contact your friends at Barclay Physical Therapy at 248-853-5853 for a complimentary screening.

References:

  • Cleveland Clinic. 7/10/2016. Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/tennis-elbow. Retrieved 6/21/2017.
  • Web MD. Dec 28, 2016. What is Tennis Elbow? http://www.webmd.com/pain-management/tennis-elbow#1. Accessed 6/21/2017.

 *This information is not intended to replace the advice of your medical provider.