Tennis elbow, lateral epicondylitis, doesn’t have to come only from playing tennis. In fact, most people experience pain from working at a computer for long hours, repetitive gripping, or improper technique when working out.
The problem can begin small and progressively get worse if you don’t fix the reason it became sore. Usually the problem is in the tendon right at the bone. Remember that tendons attach muscles to bones and have little elasticity. They can be very difficult to stretch and don’t contract so we can’t strengthen them. We must focus on the muscles directly affected, which are the forearm muscles, focus on the shoulder to help hold the upper arm (humerus), and the wrist and neck complete the line of connection.
The biggest cause of elbow pain is improper technique. This can include the way to hold your dumbbells, your hockey stick, or work at your computer. Of course, it could be all sorts of things that combine into the problem. When working out with dumbbells, make sure your wrists are straight at all times. Often I see wrists being held with some flexion or too much extension. This can happen when the weight is too heavy or the area is overly fatigued.
If your wrist is weak, you will have trouble holding a straight wrist position while working. If your shoulders tend to be unstable and fall forward, you put extra strain on your elbow. Repetitive movements are killers to any muscle or joint. Your body has to have enough endurance to handle what you are doing all day long. If you work at a computer throughout the day, your forearm muscles, your rotator cuff, and even your upper body, posture, muscles must be able to support you all day.
Correcting your position is not easy but it is simple. Good posture, holding your wrists up off the keyboard, and elbows at your side. Your workstation must fit these needs. If your keyboard is too far away, you’re reaching. If your monitor is to the left or right, you will have imbalance issues. It’s a habit, and you have to be the one to work on that.
Watch how hard you grip dumbbells, bands, screw drivers, hammers, and anything that you use often. Your grip comes from the strength in your forearms. So, by over gripping you can damage the fibers and cause injury. This is really common, and most people don’t realize how they actually hold their hand.
Stretching your hands and forearms are very important if you are a computer user, in some sort of construction, or play a sport with a bat, stick, or racquet. In the video, I demonstrate how to effectively stretch your forearms. You might be surprised how much they need it! It’s not just your forearms that need that stretch. Make sure to stretch your triceps, your chest, and your upper back.
It almost never works to only focus on the actual problem site. Find the root cause and work out from there. Why are you getting injured? Look at the whole body. With the elbow, you need to work on the shoulder and your posture to have a long lasting rehabilitation.
If you want to learn more about reprogramming your body or need guidance putting a routine together, I have started a fully virtual experience, just for you!