Elbow tendonitis is quite common amongst people who work out regularly, play sports like tennis and golf, and who use their hands. Unfortunately, the way it is treated leaves many people in frustration because they are unable to continue doing what they enjoy. Elbow tendinitis can be debilitating to the point of making it hard to grip anything. Fortunately, there is a simple fix that seems to be completely overlooked by most professionals.
What Causes Elbow Tendonitis?
Elbow tendonitis is a pain at the elbow. If it is on the outside of the elbow, it is commonly called the “Tennis Elbow.” If it is on the inside of the elbow it is called, “Golfer’s Elbow.” Either way, it is very painful, but it is not a problem with your elbow. The cause is the forearm muscles. If you feel the knots on each side of the elbow, that is where the muscles attach that control your fingers. There 5 on top for each finger so you can open your hand and there are 5 on the bottom so you can close your hand. All together you have 26 muscles from the elbow to your fingertips. As you grip things like weight, tennis racket, golf club, or steering wheel, the muscles in your forearms get tight. The tighter they get, the more tension you have on the elbow. Over time, pain starts in the elbow.
Why do Treatments fail?
We have all seen people at the gym or tennis courts with bands just below their elbow trying to stop the pain. The band applies pressure to those muscles to limit their movement. This can affect the grip of the hand and not solve the problem. In fact, it led to overuse of the shoulder. Some people try massage, but the therapist usually focuses on the elbow and not the forearm and this is due to their training. If it gets bad enough, you may go to a doctor and again, they will focus on the elbow and offer creams, pills, or an injection. This too is due to their training. They think it is an elbow problem too. Finally, many just quit their activity to get it to go away.
There is a Better Way!
Once you understand why it hurts, solving it becomes easy. Using your hand, you can soften the forearm muscles. These muscles need to be soft enough so you can feel the bones in your forearm. The idea that hard muscles mean strong muscles is dead wrong. I have worked on many bodybuilders that they were in agony even though their bodies were hard and tight. This hardness can have the reverse effect and make you feel weaker. For example, place your right hand on top of your left forearm just below the elbow. Press on the forearm just hard enough you can feel, but not so hard you cannot breathe. Another mistake here is, too many people have told us to press hard as to force out the pain. This will only cause more pain.
As you breathe out, allow the muscle to relax. The pain you are feeling will begin to stop. Next move down the arm to the elbow checking all areas of the forearm for sore spots. Each time you find one, breathe out and allow the muscle to relax. Take your time with this and do all sides of the forearm.
Wrist Flexion Stretch and Wrist Extension Stretch are 2 stretches for this area to help prevent it from coming back. I would do these every day each morning and evening at the least. You can apply the massage technique to your hands to keep them soft too.