Whether you have seen a doctor for your tennis elbow or have been researching the condition on your own, you have surely come across the subject of wearing a brace or support band.
Some may be trying to sell you overly complicated and pricey products. You may be feeling dubious that they are selling you something you do not need or will not help. Before you make a quick decision, you should fully understand the importance of compression and healing from elbow tendonitis.
Blood Flow in Your Elbow
A classic problem with healing a bad case of elbow tendonitis is that there is limited blood flow in that area. When a body needs to heal itself, it sends a lot of growth hormones, nutrients, tissue building proteins, and other cells needed to restore the injury to new or fully repaired condition.
It sends these vital nutrients via the bloodstream. If there is not an ample supply of blood to an area, it is going to take longer to heal.
A joint, in its nature, has to be narrow and flexible to allow the largest range of motion. This means that most of the blood passing through the area is that which is needed for the lower arm and hand.
In fact, there is only one artery that supplies blood to that region, which is visible on the top of your elbow, versus other areas of your body that have multiple arteries.
Your tendons have virtually no access to blood and are instead nourished by joint and lymph fluid. There are smaller vessels supplying the muscles and capillaries nourishing your skin.
As if the limited blood supply in your elbow was not a big enough hurdle to cross, when you are suffering from tennis elbow, or tendonitis, your muscles start to swell. Lymph fluid and other water begins to pool in the damaged area.
The inflammation pinches off your blood vessels, stopping more of those vital nutrients from getting to the most needed tissue.
Reduce the Inflammation
The first priority for your healing is not to stop your pain; it is to reduce your inflammation. Otherwise, you will not be able to make a full recovery.
The longer you remain swollen, the more long-term damage is done. This is why wearing a tennis elbow brace is so important. The main purpose of tennis elbow supports is to eliminate swelling. This is the process of compression.
When your injury is compressed, the tennis elbow band pushes down on the injury from every angle. This pressure literally squeezes out the pooled water and lymph fluid. It puts the fluid back into the circulatory system where it is removed. Furthermore, the compression prevents further pooling to occur.
Tennis elbow braces surround the limb, in this case the elbow, to compress the total injury. They are wrapped around the injury, but should extend beyond the swollen or painful area.
It is most effective for the tennis elbow arm band or brace to extend from at least halfway down the forearm to halfway up the upper arm. Once applied properly, the brace will force all of the fluid out of the region, almost immediately reducing your inflammation.
Massage and Increased Blood Flow
Take your hand and tightly grip your lower calf near your ankle, low enough so your hand can encircle as much of your leg as possible. Now, move your foot and leg back and forth and in circles, simulating your normal movement throughout the day.
Do you feel how your tight grip automatically massages that portion of your leg just by moving it? This massage affect is another benefit of using tennis elbow strap or band supports.
As your brace for tennis elbow compresses your elbow, from your forearm to your upper arm, you are getting this same massaging affect. The method of massage has been used for thousands of years because of it’s almost miracle healing power.
Massage and the subsequent movement of the muscle cause the flow of blood to substantially increase in the massaged area. This means that maximum healing nutrients, hormones, and proteins are reaching the area.
This massage and increased blood flow has another benefit. By wearing tennis elbow support wraps the extra blood flow is “rinsing” away the toxins and extra fluid that has accumulated in the area.
Your muscles have a tendency to hold on to the toxins we consume from our diet and lifestyle. These toxins can greatly interfere with the natural healing process. Fortunately, they cannot linger when there is a strong blood flow cleansing out the muscle.
You are suffering from tennis elbow. Your arm muscles are torn and swollen. Your elbow tendons are overstretched and damaged. The swelling is preventing the natural healing process. Your blood cannot flow properly to restore and repair your injured tissue.
These conditions, and the continual cycle of swelling and decreased blood flow, are causing your pain. You need to rest your arm to make sure you are not causing any more damage. However, you have to control this cycle if you want to stop your pain.
This means you have to compress the muscle and the best way to stop your pain is using tennis elbow straps or braces.
A brace is required to achieve compression and compression is required to relieve pain. Any compression style bandage or wrap will help. Whether you decide to buy a recognized product like the tennis elbow Band It or something simpler like the traditional Ace style wrap, you should find pain relief if worn properly.
Compression but Not Immobilization
It is noteworthy that the purpose of tennis elbow bands is compression and not immobilization. You should still be able to move the elbow without a lot of restriction. This is a very important point to remember.
If your arm is immobilized in anyway, you are still going to attempt to perform regular motions. This means you will adjust the way you would normally move or posture to accomplish the same task. When you do this, you are risking moving and stretching your muscles in an abnormal way and cause additional damage.
Furthermore, a very tight and immobilizing tennis elbow wrap may try to force you into maintaining a certain posture throughout your movements. This is probably the correct posture you should be using for elbow support.
Tennis players and golfers are not always wearing these bands because they know the real solution to your problem is to learn to have the correct form yourself.
It is a safe bet to stay away from immobilizing wraps and bandages. You would be surprised how much better it is to just the correct form in the first place. Once your arm is rested and if you need to, ask an expert on how to use the best form for the activity which caused your injury.
Learn How to Stop the Degeneration
Unfortunately, tennis elbow is a degenerative problem. It will continue to recur if it is not cured. Now that you are injured, you need to wear a tennis elbow band or brace to compress the wound and produce healing. However, you will forever have to compress the wound each time you injure it unless you find a way to stop it.
Geoff Hunt, author of Tennis Elbow Secrets Revealed, was in the same situation you are in now. His tennis elbow would begin to hurt, he would spend a lot of money on therapy and compression bandages, and he would begin to feel better.
However, because he was not really changing the way the strength and flexibility of his elbow, the injury would eventually return and be worse than it was the first time.
Finally, Hunt had enough and designed a series of tennis elbow exercises. These exercises gave his elbow, and whole arm, more power. At the same time, his tendons and muscles became more agile. These physical changes made his weak tissue healthier and finally able to prevent the injury from ever occurring.
In Tennis Elbow Secrets Revealed, Hunt is sharing these exercises so that you can find the same permanent relief. The exercises are designed so that you can choose to use a tennis elbow band or brace or not, depending on how you are healing.
Knowing that you are currently suffering, the book will also teach you the way to balance rest and compression with these strengthening exercises. This will keep your arm healing while it becomes injury proof.
If you are suffering from the pain and inflammation of tennis elbow, you need to get a brace. Compression is a key to both short term healing and long-term prevention. When you give your arm the compression it needs to heal, your efforts to stay injury free are far more productive.