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To strap or not to strap when suffering from tennis elbow

Front of the left forearm. Superficial muscles...

Image via Wikipedia

I was going to post about Cortiglia tennis bags today; as I was doing some research yesterday and I fall in love with those bags every time I see them. But in my search, I came across this blog about tennis elbow straps, and being the kind of journalist that I am, I decided health over beauty. But no worries, I can’t resist the lure of hand-crafted Italian leather for long.

What is tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow, lateral epicondylitis, occurs after repetitive, straining movements of the forearm. Tennis players are only a small fraction of sufferers of this condition. Small fractures or tears in the ligaments on the outside of the forearm cause pain when using the hands. Some actions listed that might cause pain are lifting, shaking hands, turning doorknobs and from personal experience, I know that sensation may be lost in the fingers or a tingling sensation may be present prior to numbness. 

Why tennis elbow straps are said to work.
Tennis elbow straps are often prescribed by doctors as the pressure on the torn or fractured ligaments restricts painful motions. One study, as outlined in the Journal of Orthopedic and Sports Physical Therapy, evaluated the effectiveness of tennis elbow straps. The study evaluated the amount of pain free grip strength and maximum grip strength of test subject who were suffering from tennis elbow. The study found that the test subjects using a strap could exert 16 percent more strength. The study did not address healing tennis elbow. 

Healing tennis elbow
When looking for ways to heal, or prevent, tennis elbow, straps are not the preferred method. Tenniselbowtips.com suggests that straps may interfere with the healing process because immobilizing the muscle could make it weaker. Suggestions for healing tennis elbow include ice, rest and vitamin C. To reduce the inflammation, which can slow down the healing process, anti-inflammatories are recommended and often prescribed by the doctor. Once the pain is addressed a specific set of stretches and strengthening exercises can not only speed up the healing process, but will help prevent the reoccurrence of tennis elbow. 

TennisElbowInjury.net has a great collection of articles relating to the problems and solutions of tennis elbow.

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About tennisdiva619

I am a tennis-loving journalist who has decided to make it my job to find the best information on the web relating to tennis products and supplies. Gathering this information for your convenience can save hours of weeding through product endorsements and gimmicks (hours that I myself have had to endure). I have interviewed owners and manufacturers, including, but not limited to: Jill LaCorte of Cortiglia, Liz Waggoner of 40 Love Courture and Lynne Burns of Maggie Mather. I will continue to seek out owners, designers and manufacturers of all the top names in tennis and share that information with you here.

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