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Exercises to Help Manage Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow

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With tennis courts and golf courses back open, it’s only a matter of time before you feel the effect that repetitive movements can have on your body.

Repetitive strain or injury due to overuse is common in recreational sports. In fact, two of the most popular injuries are tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow. Even if you don’t play tennis or golf, these injuries can easily happen to you over time.

Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are different types of injuries that both involve forearm muscles, but impact where the muscles connect to the joint on opposite sides of the elbow. They both relate to inflammation and damage in the elbow and involve the wearing down of different tendons and the slowing of their ability to repair themselves.

Is the pain from tennis or golfer’s elbow keeping you from enjoying the sports you love? We can help. Contact Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage at 905-427-3202 to book a consultation.

What’s the difference between Tennis Elbow and Golfer’s Elbow?

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow involves the muscles and tendons of your forearm that extend to your wrist and fingers. Symptoms may develop gradually, with mild pain that slowly worsens over time. Tennis elbow usually doesn’t come from an injury, but rather from overuse of the tendons in your forearm. Symptoms include weak grip strength and a pain or burning sensation on the outer part of the elbow. Usually, they get worse when you use your forearm in activities like holding a racquet (hence “tennis” elbow), turning a wrench, or shaking hands.

Golfer’s Elbow

Golfer’s Elbow also involves the forearm muscles. In this case, we’re talking about the muscles that attach from the wrist and go to the “funny bone” area of the elbow near the inner bump. These muscles are responsible for wrist flexion (or the twisting motion of the wrist), which explains its connection to golf. Symptoms include pain or tenderness near the funny bone, or inner bump of the elbow, as well as reduced strength in your grip. This type of injury can happen outside of sports activities: workers that regularly complete tasks that involve repetitive wrist flexion or “twisting” or forearm pronation (turning the palm downwards) commonly suffer from golfer’s elbow.

Luckily, there are some exercises and stretches applicable to both conditions that you can do to help manage your symptoms.

tennis elbow ajax chiro

Stretches that can help with both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow injuries:

  1. Wrist Stretch (tennis elbow): Hold your arm out in front of you, palm facing down, and pull your hand and fingers back towards you using your other hand. Do so gently so as not to cause pain. This shouldn’t be painful, so if it hurts, pull more gently for a slight stretch. This should stretch your forearm. Hold for 30 seconds, relax, and repeat three times.
  2. Wrist Stretch (golfer’s elbow): This exercise is similar to the one for tennis elbow, but the hand is inverted to the other direction. Hold your arm out in front of you, palm facing up, and gently pull your hand and fingers back towards your body using your other hand. Hold for 30 seconds, then relax. Repeat three times. You can do these stretches throughout your day.

Exercises that can help with both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow injuries:

  1. Wrist Extension (tennis elbow): One of the common range of motion exercises for tennis elbow is wrist extension. Begin with your elbow at a 90-degree angle, palm facing down, resting on a table’s surface. Gently extend your wrist to lift it off the table (this should not be painful). Repeat ten times. As you progress you can add weight, like holding a water bottle, to add resistance and incorporate strengthening into the exercise.
  2. Wrist Flexion (golfer’s elbow): This exercise is similar to the wrist exercise above, but the palm is in the other direction. For the wrist flexion exercise, begin with your elbow at a 90-degree angle, palm facing up, resting on a table’s surface. Gently extend your wrist to lift it off the table towards the ceiling (this should not be painful). Repeat ten times. You can also add weight resistance to add strength training to the exercise.
  3. Grip Strengthening: For this exercise, all you need is a squishy ball or “stress ball.” Hold the ball in your hand and gently squeeze. Hold for five seconds, relax, and repeat ten times. This exercise is helpful for both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.
  4. Strength Exercise: One of the common strengthening exercises you can do is informally called the “hammer exercise.” You will need a hammer as your weight resistance. Hold the handle of the hammer, and keep your elbow at 90 degrees, rested flat on a table’s surface. Slowly rotate the hammer towards the centre of your body, turning the direction of your palm downwards. Then slowly reverse the motion, rotating the hammer outwards—your palm begins facing up with the heavy side of the hammer pulling on your arm. Rest briefly. Repeat ten times.

Other suggestions for treating your tennis/golfer’s elbow:

  • Manage your pain by modifying the activities causing the pain, such as reducing the repetition or the duration of the problematic activities.
  • Seek chiropractic care, which would include the stretches and exercises listed above.
  • Purchase a compression or stability brace for your elbow (available from your chiropractor or you can purchase over the counter tension sleeves from your local pharmacy).
  • Explore other treatments such as laser or shockwave therapy.

To learn more about what sort of treatment is right for you, contact Pickering Village Chiropractic and Massage at 905-427-3202.

 


With content from the Canadian Chiropractic Association

Tips for Avoiding Injury While Working Outside This Spring

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After a winter (and several lockdowns) spent indoors, it’s only natural to want to head outside and enjoy the warmer weather. As we head into the Easter long weekend, it’s safe to assume that many of you will be out surveying your lawn and garden. Maybe even doing some raking and tidying up. Before you pull on your gloves and get to work, our chiropractic and massage therapy team encourage you to do some stretching and pace yourself as you start this new activity.

According to the Ontario Chiropractic Association, gardening is the most common source of back and neck pain reported by patients in the warmer months.

When the warm weather returns, ease into your activities and follow these tips from the Ontario Chiropractic Association.

  1. Have the right tools for the task at hand.
  2. Ensure you drink plenty of fluids.
  3. Alternate between light and heavy jobs.
  4. Lift correctly.
  5. Take frequent breaks.
  6. Heavy loads should be shared.
  7. Your feed should be protected with thick-soled supportive shoes.
  8. Before you start, warm up your muscles.
  9. Avoid muscle strain, learn the right techniques.
  10. Change positions frequently.
  11. Kneel to plant and weed.
  12. Spinal check-ups can help keep your back healthy.

How can chiropractic and massage therapy help with your low back pain?

Chiropractic treatment relieves low back pain using effective clinical tools like manipulation, mobilization, soft tissue therapy, exercise, patient education and rehabilitation.

Extensively trained in spinal manipulative therapy (SMT), chiropractors are proficient in providing specialized care which has been proven effective in reducing pain, improving function, and decreasing the chances of low back pain becoming a chronic condition.

Ajax chiropractors Dr. John Noble and Dr. Mark Fera can provide education on your spine and posture and create a personalized treatment plan for your low back pain designed to ease pain and lower your risk of recurrence.

Therapeutic massage therapy is also available at our clinic by Ajax massage therapists Rolf Castanheiro and Jessica Raedisch. Call 905-427-3202 to book an appointment.

With files from the Ontario Chiropractic Association.