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How to treat tennis elbow
Around the Academy:

Maria Sharapova in action
Maria Sharapova feels the stretch on court

Craig Smith

The first thing to do is rest from tennis to allow the micro tears to heal.

The main cause for the injury is playing too much, so you'll have to cut out ball-hitting altogether.

Other reasons may be equipment-related, such as too large a handle or a racket that's strung too tightly.

These things may need minor adjustments from your coach.

Pete Sampras applies an ice pack to his shoulder
Ice is good for reducing swelling

The best treatment for tennis elbow is a combination of:

  • Ice to reduce swelling

  • Anti-inflammatory tablets from your doctor

  • Soft tissue massage to the tight forearm muscles and the injured tendons once the pain has gone down

  • Stretching the forearm muscles to help blood flow and tissue-healing ultrasound therapy

  • Strengthening exercises for the forearm muscles and tendons

    Sometimes top tennis stars require cortisone injections or an operation if the injury doesn't respond to rest and physiotherapy.

    Strengthening your forearm muscles that grip the racket and stiffen the wrist during backhand shots should help to prevent the injury from happening again.

    Stretch the forearm muscles and tendons when warming up.

    John McEnroe - or is it Alistair MacGowan? - uses a large racket
    Make sure your racket is right for you

    You may want to try an elbow brace to take the pressure off the injured tendon.

    Technique adjustments may also help.

    For example, try playing the backhand shot more from the shoulders and less from the wrist.

    Also, try to reduce the amount of straight arm shots by bending your arm at the elbow.

    This will bring the shoulder and arm muscles more into play and take the pressure off the wrist and forearm muscles and tendons.


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  • What's tennis elbow?
    How to treat it


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