Introduction to Tennis Elbow

09_tennis_oldguysI FEEL YOUR PAIN. You are not alone! I see people on the courts all the time wearing tennis elbow braces on their arms. It’s like a big family of people that somehow stressed their elbow tendons. Some from tennis and others from something other than tennis. But everyone shares the same pain and hopes it will just go away.

Tennis Elbow – “Major Painus Maximus”-
Latin for “Man this is a major pain.”

First off, I am not a doctor, so any of the info here is based on my personal experience. You should consult your physician for any medical questions or advice.

Tennis elbow is really a tough thing. I suffered from this condition about a year ago and couldn’t find a definitive site that answered my questions about it or gave me clear answers as to what to do. I went all though the internet searching and gathering info that I thought would help me. Some of what  found was great. Some not so much. Some even left me more confused as to what I should be doing to ease pain and get better so I could play tennis again.

I see friends of mine who have the same thing, and I thought I could give them a place where they could find some relevant information about tennis elbow. I’m not trying to sell anything; I just wanted to put down in writing some of the things that have helped me. I still have some trouble with it, but it doesn’t interfere with my playing tennis anymore (fingers crossed).

What I Discovered About Tennis Elbow

The main thing people tell you is that you have to rest your elbow. I just couldn’t do that. I played through the pain, as it didn’t seem to hurt much when I played. But at night and especially in the morning . . . ouch!

I went to a chiropractor, and that really helped, and I also found that Advil was the best type of Ibuprofen tablet for me. I wore a tennis elbow support for months when I played. I still don’t know if it helped or not.

The most effective thing I found was the Tennis Elbow CD from Brent at The stretches and icing techniques were both great, and I continue to use them today. I would give you all of his info, but it doesn’t seem fair to him to take all his great info and share it when he is offering it for purchase. He is a great guy and truly dedicated to tennis. I’ve included his link info below so you can check it out if you like.

I Hope This Information Helps You

Getting older isn’t for sissies . . . it usually occurs between the ages of 40 and 60 and is most common during the 40s. It’s really amazing how painful this condition can be. I remember thinking that if I could only get rid of it, I could really hit the ball harder. But it is a process; it does force you to look at how you’re hitting the ball. So take advantage of the time, and learn all you can. You will be a better tennis player in spite of the injury if you try to follow advice that works for you and try to use all the information available to get better. You’re not the first one to get tennis elbow and you won’t be the last. I hope some of this information is helpful to you.

I would love your feedback and any tips you may have for others with tennis elbow. If you would like to contact me you can email me here.


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Do I have tennis elbow?

Save0053This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.

Understanding the symptoms is where most everyone would start. There are two kinds: “tennis elbow” and “golfer’s elbow.” Tennis elbow is located on the outside of the elbow; golfer’s elbow is on the inside. (I don’t golf, so I only concern myself with the former.) By pressing on the outside of the arm near the elbow, you should feel the pain when applying pressure. I had trouble lifting a gallon of milk from the refrigerator, and some people say they feel it when scooping out their cat’s litter box or changing gears on their stickshift. Pain may increase in the evening and make sleep difficult. My elbow was very stiff and painful in the morning.

The following info is from elbow pain:

• Usually occurs in the dominant arm (your right arm if you are right-handed, left arm if you are left-handed).

• Affects the outside of the elbow (the side away from your body). Pain increases when that area is pressed or when you are grasping or twisting objects.

• May increase in the evening and make sleep difficult. The elbow might be stiff in the morning.

• Eventually occurs with mild activity, such as picking up a coffee cup; turning a jar lid, doorknob, or key; or shaking hands. Simply starting your car could hurt.You may even have pain when you aren’t using your elbow.


My take on knowing if you have tennis elbow:

You’ll know . . . it’s on the outside elbow area of your hitting arm. I thought because I could still play that meant that maybe it was something else. I’ve talked with a few people who found that the way they use their computer mouse affects it as well. The deal is that you’ve strained or injured the tendons that connect to the elbow from the forearm. You can feel it by twisting your hand or forearm. In my case, I could feel something up in my shoulder area, too.

Make a fist and squeeze your hand. If you feel pain in your elbow area, you probably have tennis elbow.


What should I do first?

What should I do first?

Remember: This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.

The hardest part was understanding what I had done to my elbow and what I should do. The sites I found said “ice it,” but I wasn’t sure where to ice it, how long, and what I should use to ice it with. The basic concept that seems to work is: Use heat on the forearm (to relax the forearm muscles) and ice directly on the sore elbow area (to reduce inflammation in the elbow).

The following info is from

If you have tennis elbow, follow these simple steps to reduce pain and start tendon healing. A rehabilitation program such as this will prevent further injury by making your arm muscles stronger.

• Rest your fingers, wrist, and forearm muscles to allow your tendon to heal. Stop any activity that you think may be causing your elbow pain and soreness. Depending on the severity of tendon damage, you may have to avoid this activity for weeks to months.

• Ice your elbow 3 times a day for 10 minutes each time, or according to your health professional’s instructions. Use an ice pack, cold pack, or even a bag of frozen peas.

• Wear a “counterforce” brace during activities that require grasping or twisting arm movements. A counterforce brace is a strap worn around your forearm just below your elbow. This brace relieves pressure on the tendon and distributes it throughout the arm. Wrist or elbow splints also may help reduce pain. Talk to you doctor before trying a splint. These braces are not a substitute for rehabilitation exercises.

• Try elevating your elbow to help ease pain and reduce swelling in your wrist or forearm.

• Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) to reduce pain and any inflammation.

• Do simple warm-up and stretching exercises with your fingers and wrist to prevent stiffening of your tendons. If you have any pain, stop the exercises.

My take on what to do first if you have tennis elbow:

Realize that you have done something that has somehow damaged the connection of the tendons that connect your forearm to your elbow. Try to become aware of all the ways during the day that you put stress on that area of your arm. I was surprised how much I was clinching my arm during the day, which put stress on the elbow. Even the movement of using a mouse can add to the stress.

I remember thinking that this was never going to go away. And, I wanted to play tennis so much, it was driving me crazy. I tried to get as much information as I could so that I could play again.

Now, throughout the day, I will stretch out my arm and do some gentle rubbing of the muscles in my forearm for maybe 20 seconds or so. Then I will stretch my arm using the stretches from WebTennis’ CD. It only takes a small amount of time to do the stretches and in the beginning I was icing my elbow for up to 20 minutes. That wasn’t the best thing to do. You should probably ice the elbow for up to 1 minute is all.

It is going to be a process to repair the damage to your elbow. But, you will get better if you care for your elbow and take the time to learn about the best way to heal the tendon, strengthen the damaged tendons and then do what you can to prevent future injury.


Can I improve my tennis elbow?

How to improve tennis elbow

It seems as if there are millions of miracle cures for tennis elbow–from creams to gadgets that promise to improve your elbow overnight. I didn’t try all of them or even most of them, but I did spend time and money on a few. What I wanted to find was a realistic approach to being able to play tennis again without the major pain I was experiencing. I’ve worked on my tennis strokes and found that gripping the racquet with much less tension really helps. (Hold your racquet about as much as you would holding a bird. You would apply just enough pressure to hold it, without hurting it, but also not letting it fly away.)

The following info is from (

Phase 1: How do you “heal” the tendon…?
If you don’t properly heal that injured tendon, you’ll continue to have pain, and if you’re like most folks, you’ll find a way to go back out there with some goofy idea of why you can keep playing your sport or working. And the chances are huge that you’ll end up doing major damage to your elbow. You MUST provide a healing environment for that tendon. Injecting stuff into your arm, ingesting copious amounts of ibuprofen, or rubbing “magic” steroid cream on your elbow is NOT setting up a healing environment for your tendon to breathe and start to heal… Setting up the healing environment for your elbow requires a combination of heat, stretching, and ice.  And a short time period of not doing the activity that brought you here.  Short. Several days, not weeks, not months, but you know, a few days.  Be smart.

Phase 2: Strengthening
Once that tendon is healed, you’ve got to go through a strengthening routine to make those forearm muscles stronger. Not so you can squeeze tighter on your tennis racket or golf club or hammer or whatever, no, so those muscles can do a better job of absorbing impact and any forearm pronation or torque.

Phase 3: Future Tennis Elbow Prevention
And come on, can you give yourself 2 minutes before and 2 minutes after your sport or work activity to prevent another tennis elbow injury…?  Of course you can. This is not rocket science.  The method for healing, strengthening, and future tennis elbow prevention is tangible and anyone can do this.

My take on improving your tennis elbow:

Take it somewhat easy. Hold your racquet looser and don’t keep a death grip on the handle. Take some Ibuprofen before playing. Tennis elbow can really hang around for a while. Must of the people I’ve run across have had it for a long time. Follow Brent’s advice, if you get  his CD. It’s really the best thing I’ve come across. The stretching  exercises are key for me. I heat my arm in the shower and then stretch out my arm using a series of stretches.

Here is the best stretch that I found (from WebMD):

07_wbemdstetchGently pull back your hand and you’ll feel the stretch in your forearm.
Hold for about 20 seconds and shake your arm out.
Flip your hand so your palm is facing down and pull your hand towards your body and repeat.


Do these throughout the day. It takes just a little time. You won’t be instantly fixed, but over time it really helps.


Quick Tennis Elbow Tips

Here are a few simple tips that might help you identify and improve the condition of you existing tennis elbow.

Check your racquet

I have seen numerous times when a change in strings or a different racquet can bring on tennis elbow. Strings can be a major cause. Tell your stinger that you have tennis elbow (or am starting to get tennis elbow)  They are really good at knowing what to do to help you.

Don't hold your racquet too tightly

It’s surprising that without even thinking about it we are gripping the racquet very hard. And that means between points too. Shake your arm out while you’re playing.


I’ve found that if I start to feel that nasty feeling in my elbow coming back. I do some gentle stretches for a brief amount of time. It really helps me.


Pain Level


Games Affected 


Sets Missed 


Games Winning Lately 


Feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions.