Do you have elbow pain?

Here’s some quick ways to improve the pain and get out there to enjoy the short lived British summer!

• Stretch out: Tendons attaching to the bones around the elbow joint need to be kept healthy by stretching them. Overloading the tendons by repetitively being pulled by the forearm muscles is a common cause of elbow pain. Place your arm straight out in front of you, drop your wrist so that the fingers point to the floor. Use your other hand to gently and respectfully pull your wrist into a slightly more stretched position. Hold 30 seconds and repeat gently up to 6 times throughout the day.

• Massage: Use some moisturising cream and gently massage the over-worked forearm muscles that are causing the problem. With the elbow bent and placed against the stomach, it’s the muscles in the forearm at the elbow crease that need to be targeted. Gently lift them and release as well as small circular movement. Keep your hand relaxed during this.

• Technique: Often the muscles are over pulling on the tendons and bones because of poor grip technique and inadequate sizing of the racquet. Look at how you lift the kettle or make a fist. If your hand extends back fully when you are doing these activities, then you are potentially contributing to the problem with inappropriate muscle activity. If you do this when holding the racquet, get a coach to look at your technique and ensure that the racquet handle is the optimal size for you.

• If your neck also hurts, you have pins and needles or if you have a long history of elbow pain and gripping doesn’t particularly bother the problem, then the nerve underlying the muscles may be the cause of the problem. Often neck pain problems can refer down the arm and mimic tennis elbow. In this case, see your GP or Chartered Physiotherapist to release out the nerve at fault.

7 tips to decrease aches the morning after...

There is nothing more depressing than waking up the morning after you have exercised feeling sore and stiff.

This is caused by the build up of waste products around muscle groups that you have pushed particularly hard.

The key to avoiding the aches is to remove these waste products as quickly as possible after exercising.

  1. Drink lots of water to flush out toxins.
  2. Focus on a good warm up before exercise begins and a good cool down that includes stretching all the major muscle groups.
  3. Cold water baths are not much fun, but they remove waste products and reduce swelling. The key is to spend ten minutes immersed in water at 15 degrees Celsius.
  4. If you have a cold bath, follow it with a warm shower an hour later to warm up again. The contrast between hot and cold will also pump up your circulation to remove waste products.
  5. A hot bath immediately after gentle training or the day after strenuous exercise will help relax muscles.
  6. If you have the facilities, one minute in a cold tub (10-15 degrees Celsius) and two minutes a hot tub (about 37-40 degrees Celsius), repeated about 3 times will accelerate healing.
  7. A sports massage the day after exercise will help reinvigorate tired limbs.

A combination of these will allow quicker recovery and reduce severe muscle soreness and stiffness. But don’t worry, your aches should all disappear in two to three days and you should be less achy next time!