Tennis elbow is also known as 'archer's elbow' or 'shooter's elbow', while its scientific name is lateral epicondylitis. It is a condition in which the person experiences pain and soreness at the lateral side of the elbow. Tennis elbow mostly affects tennis players, golfers, gardeners, carpenters and people requiring repetitive swings and movements of their arms. Along with soreness, other symptoms of tennis elbow include extremely painful arm movements and tenderness around the elbow region.
Basically, overuse of arms puts stress on the extensor muscles that are attached at the lateral part of the elbows. Prolonged pain and its disregard can cause tearing of the elbow muscles. No definitive treatment for tennis elbow is available yet. As a result, a combination of a few medications, cortisone and steroid injections and physical therapy are used in order to minimize the excruciating pain of tennis elbow. A tennis elbow strap is yet another thing which is said to be effective for relieving tennis elbow pain. But the question is, are these straps effective enough? Let's find out.
Tennis elbow strap is an adjustable wraparound support for elbow and the forearm. This strap is wrapped around the forearm and it is very effective in relieving stress from the forearm muscles as well as the elbow. Tennis elbow straps are worn as a short term and complimentary measure for treating tennis elbow. Along with being a cure for tennis elbow, this strap is also found useful in treatment of other medical conditions like tendinitis, bursitis and minor strains and sprains. Usually, the tennis elbow strap comes with an elastic sleeve and an adjustable clasp, which is pretty useful for adjusting the pressure on the forearm and reducing stress from the paining elbow.
There are numerous types of tennis elbow straps that come in a one-size-fit-all category. Most of the time, they are made of a material called 'thermal neoprene', that makes them very comfortable to wear on a regular basis. There is a huge array of types, making it easy for you to find the best one that suits your requirements. These various types include - straps with or without the stretchable skin, tennis elbow brace, elbow pads, silicon elastic elbow wrap, heat retainer straps, cold therapy straps, etc.
How to Wear One
Tennis elbow straps reduce the tennis elbow pain and facilitate easy movements of the arm. It is very important to buy a strap that fits your size. Though they come in a universal size, you can still buy one that fits the size of your arm. To do that, you need to measure the size of your forearm. You can do it by encircling the measuring tape one inch below the elbow. Once you are done with the measurements, buy the best strap, which is specifically designed for tennis elbows.
To wear one, you need to create a loose loop of the strap in such a way that the circle on the strap reaches the inner side of the loop. Now, slide the loop over your hand and bring it up towards the elbow. Make sure that the strap is loose around the forearm and its buckle is pointing in the upward direction. The cushion edge of your strap should be about half an inch away from the elbow. Now, hold the strap with your free hand and pull down the fastening strap towards the buckle and secure it against the cushion edge.
Before removing the strap, always ice the elbow for about 10 minutes and then remove it. This is an important action that prevents further tearing of the elbow muscles. If you are opting for the tennis elbow brace, you can wear it on a daily basis. Always remember that wearing a strap/brace is a complimentary measure and you need to take appropriate medical advice along with it in order to get rid of the pain. It is always advisable to consider the doctor's or physiotherapist's advice before using the tennis elbow strap!