Tennis is one of the most physically demanding sports in the world, and with it comes the potential for injury. However, one injury commonly associated with the sport puts the head and shoulders above the rest – the dreaded tennis elbow.
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We’ve compiled some tennis expert’s advice here to help you avoid the infamous tennis elbow ailments. If you have a prevention of your own, don’t hesitate to let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org
1. Your Technique
First and foremost, technique is the biggest cause of tennis elbow, so it’s also one of the most effective in its prevention.
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For example, a proper technique begins with the basics, such as the grip. If you started playing tennis at a young age and have always used the Western grip, as Nadal does, you will automatically put a lot of pressure and stress on the elbow area.
While Nadal primarily uses the western grip to get as much top spin as possible, it also means he is making contact with the ball in front of his body.
Doing this means that the player is using both the speed of the racket and the momentum of his or her body to generate power, however, if this is done with poor form there is a good chance that the arm will generate too much force. Trying to, causing more stress to the elbow.
2. Your Equipment
This isn’t as big of a problem as it used to be ten or fifteen years ago because most rackets today are designed to reduce vibration in the hand.
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This means that in modern instruments the biggest factor is the strings used by the player. For example, there is a string currently on the market called the Big Banger, which, like many other types of strings, is designed to generate a lot of power.
However, these strings are also very stiff, so the player’s arm is subjected to more shock and the inflammation in the elbow is accelerated.
For younger players, it is best to invest in a racket with a large head as they prevent the player from overswinging while also reducing vibrations on contact.
Arguably the best prevention of tennis elbow, getting enough exercise will help players recover from the injury that has plagued many of their teammates. This is the main reason why top players spend as much time in the gym as they do on the practice court.
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The best way to prevent tennis elbow in the gym is to work on strengthening the elbows initially, followed by strengthening the muscles around the elbows – forearms, triceps and biceps.
Thermo-bands are very effective for strengthening the muscles around the elbows, shoulders and wrists. Relieving weakness in each of these joints reduces the amount of stress on the elbow, thus preventing potential injury and tennis elbow.
As with any sport, stretching beforehand is essential for the performance of your muscles and the prevention of injuries. When you warm up before playing, make sure you incorporate both wrist flexor and wrist extensor stretches into your routine.
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(i) Wrist Flexor:
Extend your arm in front of you with your palm facing up; Bend your wrist so that your hand is back toward the floor; On the other hand, slowly bend your wrist even further back until you feel a proper stretch in your forearm; Hold for at least 15-30 seconds, repeating the stretch 4 times.
(ii) Wrist Extenders:
Repeat all steps of the wrist flexor stretch, but instead begin facing the floor with your palm facing up, as described in step one.
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What do experts say
Gary Cahill is Tennis Ireland’s technical director and has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to preventing tennis elbow.
“Good technique helps prevent injuries. Look at Roger Federer for example, strokes should be smooth, rhythmic and there should be no sudden stops. Equipment also plays its role in injury prevention. Grip size, wet tennis balls And the weight/size of the racket can all affect the injury,” Cahill said.
“So, learn to play with good technique and make sure you have the right equipment. Prevention is better than cure,” he said.
Lucy Shuker A three-time Paralympic wheelchair tennis player and double Paralympic bronze medalist. Her elbow/tendon injury in 2010 forced Lucy to relentlessly try to prevent further damage or injury during training and competition.
“I still take my tendon off, which is why you always see me playing in my fancy ‘ToroPro tape.’ I use tape as a preventative measure, but as a matter of cure, it’s often Comes down to rest and discipline in your recovery process,” Lucy said.
Former Irish men’s doubles No. 1 and eight-time Davis Cup player, James Klusky, Cahill also weighed in on the point that prevention is better than cure for tennis elbow.
“Tennis elbow is a tough injury that is hard to clean up. Make sure you find a good physio and stay on top of your exercises,” Klusky said.
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