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Tennis Elbow Treatment

If you been searching the internet looking for a cure, treatment or information with regards to tennis elbow you've come to the right place. This article is about personal battle with tennis elbow and how i've managed to overcome it. This is neither a medical paper or something that i am trying to sell like magic gel or cream, but it describes how I got through the pain and angish of this condition and how you too can go about possibly curing the condition or at least alleviate it. It also talks about my long battle with tennis elbow, the pain, suffering and frustration i had to endure with this condition as well as my quest to find the cure and treatment to remedy my problem that has already plagued me for more than a year.

Important Note: Before reading further... Please bare in mind that I am not a medical professional. All this are from personal views and research I have done as well as and what I have personally experienced myself. Everyone's body is different and might respond differently to different kinds of treatments. Therefore when in doubt, please consult a professional health care physician or doctor. Please do not use my personal experiences as a way to treat your injuries as this might result is severe complications.

"Tennis Elbow"
or Lateral Epicondylitis as its medically coined, is pain or tenderness found on either the outside or inside of your elbow. Many people genearally perceive tennis elbow to be attributed to playing tennis, and yes, this can be generally attributed to this. But what many people fail to realise is that tennis elbow is not just restricted to playing tennis or any form of racquet games or sports. It can be attributed to direct injury to your elbow from a small that causes trauma to the tendon in your elbow OR repetive stress injury to the muscle and tendons on the outside of the elbow such as using the hammer or even painting. The pain from tennis elbow is from the result of inflamation or having tiny tears in the tendons found in your elbow. In the case of tennis however, tennis elbow is attributed to several reasons
  • Improper swing technique especially with the backhand.
  • A stiff tennis racquet (causing vibration and shock to your elbow resulting in tendon inflation or tears in the tendon).
  • Highly strung racquet tension (pretty much the same issue as having stiff tennis racquet).
  • Improper tennis grip size (recent studies however have showed that improperly sized tennis racquet DOESN'T cause tennis elbow).
I've have suffered and still am suffering (although not as bad now) from a very bad case of tennis elbow. The problem has been around for over a year now, but it got better due to hours at the gym with weights I have managed to strengthen the area around my elbow to play without much pain now. Besides going to the gym which I think gave me the most success with my recovery from tennis elbow. I sought alternative treatments like acupuncture, taking oral glucosamine and oral and non oral painkillers such as gels and creams. Personally none of the pain killers or acupuncture worked at all. The acupuncture treatment was killing me in terms of the cost of treatment and it did not have any effect relieving the pain or even alleviating it. Personally I found that a total waste of time and I was seeing one of the top acupuncture practitioners here in Singapore. Icing or warm water treatments did not help either.

Here's a list of items I tried to cure my tennis elbow problem.

Rest - To a hard core tennis addict, this is extremely hard to do. Especially when you have to watch from the sidelines. But trust me, I rested for close to about two months and still no results. Pain was there all the time never went away. RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression & Elevation) is the standard procedure to treat injuries but in my case, it hardly made a dent.

Ice
- Just numbs the area, but honestly did not work for me.

Warm Water - About the same result as ice.

Oral Painkillers
- I think this is the worst form of treatment as it basically sends signals to your brain telling it that there is actually no pain. This is bad, as pain is an indicator to tell your brain that something is wrong, and you'll need to stop to risk even further damage. Pain killers to numb pain in my personal opinion is bad. The painkillers the doctors gave me also did not help. The pain was consistently there. The only time when I felt the pain more or less go away with oral painkillers is when I had my wisdom tooth removed. I took that and it seemed that the pain in my elbow was totally gone. I think that this pain killer prescribed by the dentist is much stronger than the one prescribed by the doctor. I felt better, so I tried hitting a few balls. True enough pain was gone but I still felt something in that area not pain but just a weird numbness kind of feeling in my elbow area where the pain used to be.

External Painkillers - Fastum Gel, Hot/Icy Cream, did not work at all. Not even marginal.

Acupuncture - A total waste of time and money!

Oral Glucosamine - This had immediate impact after just 2 days of taking them. I use to get pain in my elbow by pinching or even wriggling my fingers. After the first day of taken the Glucosamine the night before, I felt no pain when wriggling my fingers or very marginal slight pain. So that was an indication to me that it was working in my case. So you might want to try Glucosamine. I took the double action one Glucosamine with Chondroitin as this combination is supposed to help better with inflamation of tendons and tissues.

Swimming - Breast Stroke Only. Swimming greatly helps to alleviate and I believe strengthen the muscles but does not solve the problem immediately. After each swim I feel very much lesser pain in my elbow but the pain will come back after an hour or so after my swim. So swimming was a short term success in terms of curbing the pain but not eradicating it totally.

Changing Racquets - This I have been experimenting for a long while, each racquet feels different therefore I tried to choose racquets which were very flexible and less stiff. I went to the tennis warehouse review section to try to get the flex rating which was low. I also went about trying to choose racquets with much smaller grip sizes or at least smaller rounder 4 1/4 grip sizes. I went with Head as they seem to have more rounded grip sizes. Prince too have smaller rounded grip sizes but I was never pretty much a fan of Prince racquets. Racquets such as Babolat, Wilson and Yonex have a more square shaped grip and therefore larger in grip size. During this period I experimented with several racquets such as the:

Head Flexpoint 4 (My Review of the Head Flexpoint 4)
Head Liquid Metal Prestige
Head Flexpoint Instinct
Head Flexpoint Radical OS
Wilson nCode N61 95 - USL Asian Specs
Wilson nCode N61 Tour - USL Asian Spec
Head Flexpoint Prestige Yonex RDS 001 MP

Changing string tension I have experimented with these low tensions 48 pounds, 50 pounds, 52 pounds, 53 pounds and finally 54 pounds. Each tension will be different for each racquet. But I found that the optimum tension for me is around 52 pounds to 53 pounds for most racquet. Sure control is compromised and and more spin is required each time I play. But with that tension my elbow does not really feel that much stress as compared to playing with a racquet strung at 55 pounds and over. But I must also say that each racquet plays differently and if the racquet is naturally stiff you will the pain in your elbow So pains have to be taken to find a very flexible racquet and strung at a low tension. Sure control is compromised but if you're a die hard tennis player playing some tennis (even though crappy at times) is still better than playing no tennis at all.

Changing grip size - I stuck with head racquets as they generally have a smaller grip size compared to other brands as you can see that was the reason why I was experimenting with more head racquets. I finally decided to start ordering racquets from overseas like from Tennis warehouse USA. (Review on ordering racquets direct from Tennis Warehouse USA). I didn't want to just be stuck with head racquets for smaller 4 1/8 grip sizes for other brands so that I can get a grip size that I am comfortable with without having to sacrifice brands I am sure there are other brands and models that might suite my specific playing needs and I didn't want to be just restricted due to the problems of not having the right grip size to play with. Sure I will have to pay a premium price but in return for that I might actually find a true hidden gem in the form of a racquet which plays much better than any Head racquet out there. And I believe that this might have been found in the Yonex RDS 001 MP. It has been also long noted that improper grip sizes can lead to tennis elbow, but this article Improperly-Sized Tennis Racket Grip Doesn't Cause Tennis Elbow recently released from sportsmed.org seem to suggest otherwise.

In Conclusion:

What works...

Of all the cure's I tried these are the ones that I find personally worked best for me in order of success rate. It could be a combination all these factors which helped out as well but I noticed immediate results when going to the gym to do weights for my arms and shoulders especially when working with dumb bells.

1. Going to the Gym and doing light weights.
2. Glucosamine.
3. Changing to a less stiff racquet.
4. Changing to a lower string tension.
5. Getting a correct and more comfortable grip size.
6. Swimming (Breast stroke).

* In addition to this i will also have to add having the right stretching and strengthening exercises not to aggravate the injuries even more (see image below)

The images above belongs to the above mentioned copywrites. In no way i make any references that these images belong to me.

Here are also some sites that i highly recommend for tennis elbow strengthening exercises.

1. Tennis-Elbow-Treatments.com
2. NISMAT (Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine & Athletic Trauma)
3. TennisLovers.com

What didn't work or failed miserably...


1. Acupuncture (Total waste of time and money)
2. Oral and External Pain Killers.
3. Ice and Hot Water treatments.
* Resting and not playing for months is subjective so I won't speculate on that...
** All my comments are based on personal experience, everybody's body is different and will respond differently to various forms of treatment. So keep an open mind. When in doubt consult a professional physician/doctor.

I can now have a good game without experiencing much pain now. The pain is not 100% gone but it’s manageable for some games now. The cause for my tennis elbow? Most likely due to the stiffness of the Babolat Pure Drive. I don't think I was the tension as I strung it pretty low at 56 pounds and I have been using that racquet for many months without any issues. I still feel that another attributing factor was the grip size but this article which was only just recently released seemed to suggest likewise and dispute the fact.

Another cause for tennis elbow could be wrong stroke mechanics but if that is the case, I would have encountered that a long long time ago. Furthermore if its strokes mechanics, it will be mainly from a poor backhand. I could hit my backhand without much issues, it's the forehand which was causing more pain. Changing racquets also alleviated some pain, so I guess it could be just the stiffness of the Babolat Pure Drive or the larger grip size. By the way I also experimented with a lower string tension and that did not help.

I sincerely hope that from my personal experiences dealing with tennis elbow and the various treatments that i have applied would be helpful to you. I have also found these links below extremely helpful in research as well providing more information on tennis treatments and tennis elbow related injuries.

Tennis Elbow Related Resources

Tennis Elbow Treatments
American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Hughston Sports Medical Foundation (for tennis related injuries)

Nawin, great post - I had exactly the same problems with really bad tennis elbow (unfortunately initiated by a bout of drunken arm wrestling last year) and the condition has never gone away entirely. I also use a Babalat Pure Drive which is great when there's no pain but exacerbates the injury consistently now - after reading your article I switched to a Babolat Pure Storm Tour strung at 55 and I can play again. I would have completely overlooked the impact of a racket change had it not been for your blog so thanks very much for your informative article. Cheers, Theo

Hi Nawin,

I have just read yr article on Tennis Elbow problems. I must say I was very impressed with the research you have done and the content of your Blog. I do believe your advise is pretty good. i hope I may be allowed to offer 2 further suggestions - as I am a regular player too and lucky enough not to suffer any joint or medical problems to hamper my tennis,presently. I would like to say that from my own experience, I noticed that technique may play a part to causing this type of injury. So looking at this may also help.
Secondly, I agree with your recommendation of Glucosamine. I would add that you should look at the amount you are currently taking. I have noticed Glucosamine does not work with everyone, don't know why, but if you find it works to some extent, I would say you are probably not taking the correct dosage. Look to double what you are taking and do this before and after you play.
If you are getting a good quality supply of Glycosamine (and I leave this to your own judgement), you should have no worries about overdosing on this food supplement.
2 reasons why I can say the above. One, I used to take Glycosamine + Chondrine for a shoulder problem which was caused and made worse by constant serving in tennis. The problem eventually just tailed away to insignificance - should give you hope. Second, I now deal with Glucosamine and other similar "sugars" called Glyconutrients on a daily basis. You may read this on my website - www.glyconutrients.sg . These are FOOD so not to worry about overdosing or side effects, assuming they are from a good source. I hope this will help your condition.

Edwin - dragunus@gmail.com

Hey, good stuffs and material, but I do have a few comments.

A lot of people used the light weight but stiff and head heavy racquets, that really hurts! You can have stiff racquets, but it has better come with certain weight or you have to have good swing. A lot is really coming from bad swing technique, gripping too tight (bad grip size) and using too much arm strength on swing. That really should be the case only when you want to hit a winning shot with added power.

One thing about your article, of string tension at 55-. It seriously is low, unless you are using a super heavy head racquet and with a very short swing pattern. I reckon anything about or below 58 with new racquets damping material will help.

Another point. I have witnessed enough people playing extended hours of tennis, and their swing mechanism changed a lot to using too much arm muscle strength. That is another killer. You do not know how much damage you can get from that, as when you energy level comes down so much, you tend to grip the racquet tighter and use a lot of arm strenght. That really hurts.

Anyhow, get a good coach to tell you what is right!

Hi Nawin - great website and I am going to try your suggested treatments - they are tried and tested so it should work as I too am a regular tennis player. I've had all sorts of treatment but they are all short-lived. Eric of Transworld suggested acupuncture but I am unsure.....thanks for your sharing.

I'm curious, how exactly did you use icing(that didn't work)?

Thank you for sharing your research and experience. I also found that acupuncture didn't help and was both painful and painfully expensive. Acupuncture was beneficial however for helping a knee injury. I wanted to know if swimming would aggravate the condition. Thanks again for your information.
Alison

Hi Alison,

Thanks for finding the research I did on tennis elbow beneficial. I am not sure if swimming will aggravate you knee injury, as I am not sure how severe and what kind of knee injury it is. I suggest that you consult your doctor to get his opinion. I am NOT a trained medical professional to give you such advice.

I personally find swimming good as its usually low impact and good for physio therapy so you get some exercise while strengthening the injured area. Swimming really helped my tennis elbow though. Hope this helps and good luck!

Hi TendonitisExpert,

Icing merely relieved my tennis elbow for the time being. It was not really beneficial for me. I think it's good for immediate impact injury to prevent swelling and some temporary relief but not as a cure for long term tennis elbow injuries.

I too want to say "great info" I had heard before that the racquet grip size had something to do with tennis elbow injuries in some cases. I have been strugling with tennis elbow this past two weeks and have been doing some research for home remedies and exercises and basically genearl information to heal the pain and prevent it from happening again.

I must say your blog and this other site www.tenniselbowsupport.net have been the two most helpful sources of information.

Thank you!

Foran So looking at this may also help.
Secondly, I agree with your recommendation of Glucosamine. I would add that you should look at the amount you are currently taking. I have noticed Glucosamine does not work with everyone, don't know why, but if you find it works to some extent, I would say you are probably not taking the correct dosage

Awxus

I've had tennis elbow twice, but not from playing tennis. The second time started last November. My old rackets were Slazenger ProBraided Xtremes, which are very flexible and very head light. I used 17 gauge poly strings at 58 lbs. to give it a nice pop. But I broke one of them in December, so I replaced them with a Pure Drive + Cortex's in January.Unfortunately my tennis elbow not only got worse, I also strained my rotator cuff, and developed tennis elbow in my left arm as well. I traced the problem to two things in the PD+C.

First, the PD+C is not as head light as my old racket, and it ended up stressing my wrists. Overextended wrists pull the muscles associated with tennis elbow, which is why my orthopedic surgeon told me never to use a head-heavy racket. So I added 11 grams of lead tape to the PD+C's handle make the balance similar to my old racket.

Second, i strung my PD+C initially with a full poly setup, like with my old racket. But this added too much stiffness to an already stiff racket that is the PD+C, and was simply too much for my 50 year old arms. So I changed to synthetic 17 gauge strings. The racket now feels more comfortable, without being spongy. I'm up to 55 lbs. tension, and will try 58 at my next string change.

One good side effect of my modifications is that the racket is now more stable than before. I played with some college varsity players last week, and my racket never flinched.

Its taken a while to rehab my arms (which is a story in itself) and find the right racket/string setup. But I'm almost pain free, and am finally starting to enjoy my PD+C's.

Great content, i think this is the most detail and revelant post about tennis elbow cure on the net. i agree with most of what you said and will try the rest of your advice.
i too find:
1/ Accupunture not working for me, heard it worked for some people tho.
2/ Pain killer and pain killer patches didn't work for me too.
3/ swimming (breast stroke) helped me too, good PT for tennis elbow and great total body workout to strengthen my muscles so i won't rely on my hand that much. also helpful is other core strength workouts that relieve stress on your arm.
4/ I hesitated about trying glucosamine but will do so immediately as i think you gave sound advice and it help with my knee pain before. thanks.
5/ the racket i am using is Pure Drive Cortex. i am thinking about changing to a softer non-poly strings too. right now my luxilon alu power 16 is at 55 pounds is definitely making my tennis elbow worse. might change to wilson nxt or tenifibre x1 biphase. actually as a casual tennis player, i don't know much about strings but tennis elbow force me to do some hard research. about what Makinao said adding weight to the grip, i might try too, will it help?
other silly things i tried including switching to 2h BH, which helped, but i think i am getting minor tennis elbow on my left hand too.

My physiotherapist just told me that I have the absolute worst case of Tennis Elbow that he has ever seen. I have had it in my left elbow for 2y,11m. Had 2 cortisone, accupun. drugs, ultrasound, physio and SURGERY. I knew the risks going into it and I knew it might not work.....and it didn't. I have never recovered. I started compensating for the bad elbow by using the good elbow alot more. Now I have tennis elbow in the right elbow too. I have had it for 1 year on the right. I have recently had IMS (intra muscular stimulation). That usually shows improvement in 6-8 treatments. I had 12 treatments and it didn't work. I have been told that I will have chronic pain for the rest of my life (I am 38y old female) and they can't find any reason for my 'good' eblow to not be getting any better. I am now grumpy because all of my regular activities are difficult if not impossible and I am overworking my husband and 3 kids because of my limitations. I have been told that I am in the wrong profession (I am a childcare worker) but now I am at a loss as to what to do now. HAS ANYONE EVER EXPERIENCED TENNIS ELBOW THIS LONG WITH NO RELIEF? SO FAR I HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO FIND ANYBODY SUFFERING FROM DAILY CHRONIC PAIN DUE TO TENNIS ELBOW. PLEASE HELP ME.....:(

Hi Nawin, I happened to visit your site whilst looking for a racket review but got interested in the tennis elbow (TE)comments/research in all the posts. I thought I would like to add my experience here as it could be VERY beneficial to any TE sufferers. I stress that I have no financial interest in recommending what I have used to help myself with my own TE problem: here is the story.
I have been playing tennis for more than 30 years , some of them as a pro in Europe,and a few months ago I developed a very bad case of TE (mainly, I think, due to bad lazy technique I developed in my backhand). I could not even hold anything without feeling pain, let alone lifting objects; I started to rest, met with the doctor , used local external creams : no improvements whatsoever, total waste of time; I then searched high and low online and after coming across some ridiculous "solutions", I bumped into a site where they talked of an experiment carried out on a number of TE sufferers which had led to amazing results in a short period of time (less than 2 months). I read the whole thing over and over and then decided to give it a go as it did not require an incredible outlay. To cut the story short, I bought myself the rubber bar used in the experiment and started to do the recommended daily exercises (3 times p/d). I am not exaggerating but I started to feel the benefits after 3 (THREE) days only !!! I have now been using it for about 4 weeks and can honestly say that :
1)I can't feel any pain AT ALL when lifting or holding objects
2)I can grip with strength anything I like
3)I have been playing squash once a week and have not felt any pain either, even after the games.
I haven't played tennis yet as the weather here in the UK has been miserably wet lately and have no indoor courts nearby so cannot say just yet whether the TE has gone for goods but I am very confident that I am definitely in the right direction. If anyone wants to read the same article I read, it can be found on : http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/25/phys-ed-an-easy-fix-for-tennis-elbow/
Good luck and well done for your research! Marco

This comment has been removed by the author.

.., i also had my elbow pain... i use to play tennis but i am not really into it... i wonder if you can have elbow pain if you are not engaged in tennis for such a long time.....
tennis elbow

Also By using Arm Friendly racket we can get away from Tennis Elbow
Racket details :

http://tennisworld-tennis.blogspot.com/2010/05/prokennex-ionic-ki-5-tennis-racket.html

If you have tennis elbow for along time you may have tendonosis not tendonitis. Tendonitis is when the tendon is overworked and becomes inflammed.Tendonosis is when the tendon is damaged, usually caused by an overuse cycle not giving the tendon a chance to heal correctly after overuse. Healing a damaged tendon takes along time.
Google "Tendonosis". The modalities for Tendosis are different from Tendonitis.

Has any tried the Tenease device for treatment of their elbow pain and if so, did it help?

Has any tried the Tenease device for treatment of their elbow pain and if so, did it help?

Has any tried the Tenease device for treatment of their elbow pain and if so, did it help?

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About me

  • I'm Nawin from regentville
  • Residing in Hougang Singapore
  • Racquets: X2 Prince EXO3 Graphite 100 (Main) X3 Wilson K Blade Tour 93 (Backup) Strings: Toalson Ultimate 115 Strung @ 48-50 pounds. Plays: Right Handed (Single Backhand). Shoes: mi Adidas Barricade V Apparel: Lacoste & Adidas Favourite Players: Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic

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