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Tennis Elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is caused by inflammation of the muscles of the forearm that attach to the elbow.

What can be done for Tennis Elbow?

Whether it’s due to a sudden trauma or the result of repetitive strain (overplaying/bad form/bad timing), once damaged, the elbow can be incredibly resistant to healing. 

Players rarely take the time necessary to rest their elbow so it can heal completely. 

An important factor that can help you continue to play as you heal is finding the best tennis racquet for tennis elbow. 

What causes Tennis Elbow?

Usually, tennis elbow is caused by more than one thing.

The combination of issues that most often result in tennis elbow are:

  • Bad form
  • Overplaying (pushing yourself too far)
  • Not stretching/not exercising besides playing tennis
  • No post-recovery methods
  • Bad nutrition and hydration
  • Wrong tennis equipment (racquets, strings, and shoes)

Physiotherapists commonly advise tennis players to strengthen their shoulder rotator cuff, scapulothoracic, and abdominal muscles.

This can help to reduce overcompensation in the wrist extensors during gross shoulder and arm movements.  

Take a quick look at this video for tips to stop tennis elbow.

Look to the shoulder

While many players suffering from tennis elbow are grinding away at their forearms with massage techniques as well as other exercises for the area just above the elbow -they should be looking to the shoulder.

You almost always want to look above the area of concern to where the horsepower is coming from – in this case, the shoulder.

As you create power by swinging the tennis racquet, one area becomes fixated or restricted in how it moves. Finding a good racquet for tennis elbow can help. 

Sometimes the elbow can’t go through its normal arrange of motion, and the shoulder has to work harder. Your elbow acts as a hinge and transfers the power. 

Hitting the tennis ball involves a transfer of power from the shoulder to the wrist that must go through the elbow.

The shoulder is transferring power from a primary engine to a terminal horsepower joint (the wrist and the hand).

When we create power by swinging the racquet, if the elbow can’t create the power, the rest of the arm takes up the slack.

Eventually, the hinge (elbow and forearm) takes a beating.

Some experts say – fix the shoulder – and you’ll have no more tennis elbow problems! 

Let’s look at a few exercises especially for the shoulder. 

Exercises that target the shoulder as it relates to the arm

Horizontal adduction

Grab an exercise band. Hold the band horizontal to your body. Using a lacrosse ball, squeeze and hold it up against your side.

Actively press it against your side, trapping the ball between your elbow and your side. The elbow is at 90’.

Pull the band away, across your body and back again, maintaining the load on the affected side. Do three sets of ten. This allows the scapula to open and close.

Warning — this will fire up your shoulder!

Arm Raises

Slide up against the wall with your back against the wall. Make a V with your arms and raise them above your head.

Go up and down the wall with your arms making sure they are touching the wall at all times.

Use ‘karate chop’ hands. Keep your arms at shoulder level and repeat for 30 times, resting halfway in between. 

Do professional tennis players get tennis elbow?

Tennis is a physically demanding sport. Roughly two-thirds of tennis injuries are attributed to over-use and the remaining third to traumatic or acute events. 

Tennis elbow is the best-known and also the most painful elbow injury in tennis players. An estimated 50% of all tennis players will suffer from tennis elbow in the course of their careers.

Players aged over 35 are particularly at risk.

Venus Williams, Bjorn Borg, Aleksandra Wozniak, Andy Murray, and Juan Del Potro have all suffered from tennis elbow.

Over time, if players overuse their forearm muscles or don’t follow proper hitting techniques, they’ll experience tennis elbow pain.

Recreational players should consider training with a tennis expert to learn proper techniques and movements.

The trainer can share which equipment best fits your ability and body size.

The trainer can also recommend the best tennis racquet for you to avoid tennis elbow.

Avoiding tennis elbow

You can avoid tennis elbow and other arm injuries by staying in good overall shape, as well as strengthening and stretching arm and back muscles.

This ensures that the muscles are strong and flexible enough to handle your playing. 

Reserving adequate time to warm up and cool down before and after play is crucial. 

Fewer matches and extended periods of off time (no playing) would put less stress on the body and give you more time to recover from tennis elbow. 

In general to avoid injury, wear the right tennis shoes. Always make sure the court is clean before you begin playing, check closely for slippery spots and debris that could cause a slip trip, or fall. 

Best Tennis Racquet for Tennis Elbow

Finding the right racquet for tennis elbow is going to depend on a few key specs. It’s also important to consult a medical professional before attempting to play or use any new product with this condition.

Here are the most important specs in racquets for tennis elbow:

  • Racquet balance
  • String pattern
  • Stiffness
  • Weight 
  • Balance
  • Head size

Any built-in elbow friendly technology that decreases vibration increases stability and increases the size of the sweet spot are also important factors to look for. 

More specifically, look for a more flexible racquet, preferably with an RA flexibility reading of 63 or lower.

Also, look for one that’s heavier at 11.2 or more ounces strung, to absorb the pace of any big hitters that you may face.

Below find racquets that meet these criteria.

Wilson Blade 98 16×19 Countervail Tennis Racket, Unstrung

The Wilson Blade is upgraded with Countervail technology to maximize a player’s energy.

The minimalist design features clean lines, matte finishes, and laser engraving.

View at Amazon for more information on how this racquet might work for your needs.

Features that are beneficial for this product include:

  • With this racquet, you can play an aggressive modern game without choosing between a racquet that accommodates your style of play and one that won’t inflame your joints.
  • This racquet allows you to play with an authentically modern racquet in terms of balance, power, and stiffness. The implementation of Countervail provides a one-of-a-kind dampening system that arrests vibration and pain before it ever reaches your wrist or elbow.
  • The weight is below that of the Wilson RF 97. However, this racquet’s weight is still in the right weight class for generating drive and plow-through. At 11.2 ounces strung, this meets our above criteria. 
  • If you choose the right strings for this racquet, you will have the flexibility for an even more arm-friendly response.
  • Head Size- 98 sq inches
  • With an RA flexibility reading of 62-this meets our criteria 

Yonex-Ezone Feel Tennis Racquet

Yonex’s signature head shape provides an extra-large sweet spot that’s extra powerful. Better comfort at impact softens the stress on the arm.  

This racquet is plush and powerful and fun to hit from the baseline. The stiffer racquet meets our criteria for elbow friendly racquets.

Most common praises for the Yonex racquet include:

  • Great touch. Volleys can be hit deep into the opponent’s court. 
  • Ground stokes are great on power
  • Magic hitting! Flexible and similar to the Prince Graphite
  • Feel of the racquet is such that for the softer feel you don’t lose the power you need.

Some specs and comments from the manufacturer:

  • Head Size-102 sq inches
  • Color- black/green/white
  • Open 16X18 string pattern
  • Isometric shape increases the size of the sweet spot for a 7% larger sweet spot over traditional round-headed frames. 
  • Heavy yet still maneuverable 
  • Control orientated racquet with great feel and touch. 
  • Great arm friendly racquet for a power player looking to go easy on the elbow.

View at Amazon for more information on how this product might work for use with tennis elbow.

Featured image credit: DepositPhotos.com