Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a result of repetitive stress injury, very strong gripping movements, squeezing objects harshly or heavy lifting and is featured and recognized by severe inflammatory conditions of tendons in the elbow region. Any incessantly repeated movements, from involvement in a tennis game to a simple typing job, can lay the foundation of a slow-killing procedure and development of tennis elbow. The best resort to fight this situation is to enable decrease of inflammation in the affected area, promoting tissue healing and minimizing muscle atrophy.
To promote this, it is best to follow the R.I.C.E principle, viz. R stands for rest, although complete rest is not recommended as it may increase muscle atrophy and even de-conditions the tissue, I is for icing the infected area until the inflammation is present, C stands for compressing which limits the swelling and finally, E is for elevating the pain using natural forces of gravity. You can visit the gym once the swelling and inflammation have lowered down, but you should be extremely careful to avoid all such exercising techniques which can potentially worsen the condition and aggravate the pain as well as the swelling of the elbow tendons. Here’s a list of exercises which are considered a taboo in healing a tennis elbow injury.
Avoid any improper technique of exercising
If you have recently developed tennis elbow, the initial first week should be dedicated completely to rest and icing the swollen tendinitis. Once you return to the gym, make sure not to perform any exercise without consulting a physical trainer who can guide you through to ensure that indulgence in any improper weight lifting or otherwise has not led you to this injury. Moreover, make sure to carry along your ice-pack and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs to keep the swelling under controlled levels. Your exercising routine should completely focus on strengthening the muscles in the forearm and increase its flexibility through stretching.
Proper techniques and training routines for sports like tennis and golf which involve grasping and twisting motions around the arm can be quite beneficial. But you should make sure to not stress your elbow with any activity or sport at any given point of time and should exercise only as per your level of ability, body size as well as body strength. Any stressful action on the elbow can lead to further injury which can be quite dangerous at this stage. Remember, even if you lift an object while exercising or otherwise, lift with your palm facing upward.
Avoid dumbell exercises
In the normal course, a greater range of motion that dumbell exercises provide is a boon for workout regimes. But if you are suffering from tennis elbow, then this may prove fatal for you. The increased range of motion while using dumbbells can increase your chances of further injuring your elbow tendons. This is because it gives your arms an opportunity to move in any direction without limitation. This can tear off your already ripped off and damaged tendinitis driving it away from the bone, which can be fixed only by undergoing a surgery. The best alternative is to use barbells and machines instead, which reduce the range of motion and prevent the re-occurrence of injury to the elbow which means a faster recovery of the injured tendons.
Avoid heavy weights
While choosing exercises to suit your tennis elbow injury, you should primarily concentrate on form and posture. Avoid heavyweight at all costs as lifting them at the top of your threshold involves improper form. Instead, try focusing on more repetitions with lower weights. When it comes to exercising with tennis elbow, you should never compromise or sacrifice on your form to increase weights. There is an ideal parameter to judge whether the weight is heavy for you or not. The idea is to try a rep with the weight at least 6 times. If you are unable to do so, the weight is undoubtedly heavy for you. Stop it immediately and never try again.
Avoid working only major muscle groups
To increase strength and endurance in the muscles, tendons, and ligaments in an attempt to ease off your tennis elbow injury, concentrate and spend more time working on your supporting muscles in place of working only on major muscle groups. By concentrating on larger muscle groups, you tend to ignore key small muscle groups like the rotator cuff and scapular muscles. If you neglect these muscle groups, it can lead to putting excess strain on the forearm extenders and elbow tendons. These muscles would later have to make up by compensating for the lack of strength in the supporting auxiliary muscle groups. Remember, you want to ease off stress from the area and help in its healing, not re-injure it.
Avoid push-ups during tennis elbow
Floor exercises like chin-pins, push-ups and bench pressing put a lot of strain on the elbow flexors. This can lead to agitation accompanied by severe pain in the lateral tendons of the elbow. The overuse and repetitive movement at the point of pain, where the muscle and tendons pierce into the bone of the elbow, can tear away the placement of the already injured elbow from the bone leading to an emergency situation which would call for immediate surgery. So, be smart to choose exercises. Go for ones in which you do not strain your elbow in a manner that it has to compensate later for the wrong action.
Avoid wrist exercises
Wrist exercises such as forearm curls or barbell extensions put direct stress on the forearm and elbow region. This can worsen the tennis elbow injury and potentially cause chronic pain. It is advisable to stay away from any such wrist exercises. Refrain from even the lifting ones, which involve repeated circular motions of your elbow and wrist. In fact, you should indulge in as few a repetitions as possible. Physiotherapists suggest arm motions such as painting, screw driving, food slicing and preparing the same, excessive computer use. All these day-to-day activities require elbow, arm, and wrist involvement. They can radiate pain to pass from the outside of your elbow down to your forearm and wrist. This causes extreme discomfort or weakness and leading to aggravation of your tennis elbow injury. So, refrain from putting any stress on your infected area if you want positive, quick and hassle-free recovery.