In the world of racquet sports, tennis has been a long-standing favorite. But recently, another game is catching attention: pickleball. As the popularity of pickleball grows, so do the concerns about injuries specific to the sport, notably ‘pickleball elbow’. Just like tennis elbow, pickleball elbow can cause discomfort and pain, limiting your game. In this blog, we’ll delve deep into understanding these conditions and how physical therapy can offer relief.
Understanding Tennis and Pickleball Elbow:
While ‘tennis elbow’ and ‘pickleball elbow’ are colloquial terms, they refer to a condition medically known as lateral epicondylitis or epicondalgia. This occurs when the tendons in your elbow are overloaded, usually from repetitive wrist and arm motions. Whether you’re swinging a tennis racket or a pickleball paddle, the repeated strain can cause tiny tears in the outer tendon, leading to pain and inflammation.
- Pain and tenderness on the outer part of the elbow
- Stiffness in the elbow
- Weakness in the forearm
- Aching and discomfort while gripping objects
Physical Therapy Remedies:
- Stretching Exercises: Gentle stretches can help alleviate tension in the tendons and muscles of the forearm. Your therapist may guide you on wrist flexor and extensor stretches to start with.
- Strengthening Exercises: Building strength in the forearm and other muscles associated with the upper extremity which can prevent further injury. Resistance band exercises or isometric holds can be beneficial.
- Soft Tissue Mobilization: Physical therapists use hands-on techniques like massage or instrument-assisted techniques to reduce tension and stimulate healing in the affected tendons.
- Therapeutic Ultrasound: This uses sound waves to produce deep heat in soft tissues, increasing circulation and aiding in the healing process.
- Ice and Heat Therapy: While ice can reduce inflammation and numb the area, heat can relax and loosen tissues and stimulate blood flow to the area.
- Functional Training: Once pain subsides, it’s crucial to learn proper techniques for racquet sports. Your therapist can guide you on improving your form, ensuring you don’t put undue stress on the elbow.
- Bracing or Taping: Your physical therapist might suggest wearing a brace or taping the forearm to reduce strain on the elbow tendons.
- Use the right equipment: Ensure that your racquet or paddle is the correct size and weight for your skill level.
- Improve your technique: Consider taking lessons to ensure you’re using proper form.
- Warm-up before playing: Don’t jump straight into the game. Warm up your muscles with some stretches and light exercise.
- Listen to your body: If you feel pain, don’t push through it. Rest and consult a professional if needed.
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But why just read about solutions when you can experience them? Book a Free 30-minute Discovery Session with AIDPPT today to discuss your specific concerns and get personalized advice. And while you’re taking proactive steps toward a pain-free life, don’t forget to shop for the Tenex® Elbow Shock Absorber and the Incrediwear Pain Relief Wearable on our website. Let’s work together to get you back on the court, performing at your best and free from pain!