Tennis elbow is a common form of tendonitis, a repetitive motion injury. Tendons are the strong, flexible straps holding your muscles to your bones.
In simple terms, tennis elbow tendonitis means a repetitive action strained and caused tiny tears in the outer (lateral) tendons of your forearm arm which form and move your elbow.
These tiny tears can build up and cause a rather severe pain when the arm is moved in the same repetitive motion. If left untreated, it can get bad enough to ache from any movement at all. It can feel almost incapacitating.
As the name implies, this injury frequently occurs during racket sports like tennis or racquetball, especially those with a “backhand”. Non-athletes should not be fooled by the name.
It is just as likely to show up from any number of repetitive actions. Hammering, digging, raking, using vibrating tools, and all similar actions are known causes of tennis elbow.
Why do most people perform these movements with no problem, but you suffer from pain? Why are your tendons more vulnerable than others? The answer is tennis elbow predisposition and recognizing it is an important part of your cure.
Identifying The Cause Is Critical To Recovery
Physical therapy will help the pain, but identifying the source is vital to a permanent cure. Repetitive motion damage often occurs over an extended period of time, making it difficult to pinpoint the exact cause.
For example, a two month long pain was probably not caused, but only agitated, when you painted for the first time this weekend. You will have to examine other aspects of your life which make you vulnerable.
On the other hand, tennis elbow has been known to suddenly appear after an unusual repetitive action. In the same example, if you have never had tennis elbow pain but suddenly feel sore after a weekend of painting, then the painting probably caused the problem. Your arm should feel better soon, but you have identified a predisposition toward tennis elbow in the future.
When determining the cause of your pain, it is important to first examine your predisposition to the problem.
What is tennis elbow predisposition? It essentially means that certain circumstances unique to your body or your life are triggering tennis elbow more frequently than other people.
While every person is unique, there are certain similarities among those predisposed to tennis elbow. Predisposition can be broken into 3 categories: athletic, lifestyle, and anatomical. If you can determine which category you fall into, you will have better insight into your cure.
Not every case of tennis elbow is from sports, but its frequency is what earned it an athletic nickname. Of course, not every athlete gets tennis elbow. The difference between the ones that do and the ones that don’t is frequently their athletic predisposition.
The first thing you must look at is your current physical capability versus the motion you are trying to perform. Tennis elbow isn’t caused by lifting too much weight all at once; it is by over-straining your lateral tendon repeatedly.
This is why you should always let your current endurance level tell you when you’ve had too much. If you are not a super-athlete, you shouldn’t try to play like one.
Professional athletes have years of strength training to support their aggressive play. If you have not trained your arms to maintain this kind of athleticism, you are going to cause damage. Although you might feel a rush when you play a too-intense game, it is not worth the pain afterward. Instead, train your game up to that level.
Next, how’s your form? Every sport has a right way and a wrong way to do it. Using the correct form enhances athletic performance, but it also keeps you injury proof.
These days, many people begin playing sports and are self-taught or taught by a peer who also plays the game. It is great to get out and exercise, but if you’re planning to play long-term it is time you received professional lessons.
Finally, always make sure you use the right athletic equipment. The right equipment significantly reduces tendon strain.
For example, a loosely strung racquet vibrates 5X longer than one strung properly, each vibration tearing your tendon. When you use a racquet, club, or bat with a handle too small or too large for your hand, you constantly compensate in your grip and move your arm awkwardly to adjust, further tearing at your tendons.
The wrong equipment makes you vulnerable to tennis elbow. Only a professional or coach will be able to tell you if you are using the right equipment for you body. While you’re taking lessons on form, make sure you also ask for an equipment check.
In many ways, a lifestyle predisposition is very similar to athletic predisposition. Essentially, they are almost the same tennis elbow causes. It breaks down to capability and form.
Are you a couch potato or are you sedentary? When muscles are inactive, they begin to break down. They get smaller and weaker. A weaker muscle is going to tear more easily and take longer to heal.
If you are not active, you are setting yourself up for tennis elbow pain, especially if you suddenly take on an unusually intense activity. It is even truer since your inactivity probably means you are not trained to have good form.
Form is not only important in sports, it is important at home and at work.
For example, professional movers know to carry a box close to their body with their elbows safely bent. Novices tend to put their arms under a box and extend their elbows, tearing at their tendons the whole time.
For every motion you make, from sweeping to carrying grocery bags, there is a correct way and wrong way. Research the right form for your most repetitive activities and you will greatly cut down on your predisposition.
Finally, there is an anatomical predisposition to tennis elbow to consider. If you have had previous problems with tendonitis, especially in your arms, you must always keep it in mind. There is always a heightened risk of reinjuring yourself.
Tendons and muscles are comprised of protein fibers. Your body needs certain fuel to build and repair healthy tendons.
You need dietary protein for the building blocks, natural calcium to repair the tissue which connects the tendon to the bone, and a good multi-vitamin to accelerate healing. If you aren’t getting these nutrients or if you have a medical condition which inhibits nutrient absorption, your body is at a higher risk for tendonitis.
This type of predisposition doesn’t mean you stop playing sports or you quit a repetitive motion job, it means you concentrate on doing the right thing for your body. Pay extra attention to always having the right form, fitness level, and equipment for anything you do.
Give your body plenty of the right fuel it needs to keep your tendons healthy. If you have a previous injury, take additional precaution using braces and stretching to prevent a future injury. Anatomical predisposition can be overcome with vigilance and care.
The Next Step
Now you understand tennis elbow predisposition. You should have a better understanding of what causes tennis elbow and how to correct the problem. However, identification is only half the journey.
Your next step is to heal, nourish, and strengthen your tendons to overcome your predisposition toward reinjuring your elbow.
This is where the e-book, Tennis Elbow Secrets, comes in handy. In this e-book you will learn the basics of RICE (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) therapy for acute cases.
You will also learn the 7 simple steps to a full recovery, including the most important exercise used to prevent a relapse. In the e-book you will also find additional resources for understanding tennis elbow and establishing a strategy to cure it.
Take the time to analyze your activities and your body. It will probably not be a quick task, but with concentration you should be able to identify the cause of your pain and your unique disposition to the injury. Once you know your vulnerabilities, you can alter your tennis elbow strategy to stop further damage and get cured faster.