Avoid Tennis Elbow Pain


Tennis Elbow

elbow pain
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Tennis elbow is due to the irritation of tendons on the outside of the elbow. These tendons can become irritated with a variety of activities, not just playing tennis.  In fact, often simple lifting of objects such as purses, briefcases, and toolboxes, can contribute to the painful symptoms experienced by patients who have tennis elbow.

Knowing the proper way to lift these objects can help patients avoid painful symptoms, and allow the body to heal the tendons damaged in patients with tennis elbow.


Tennis Elbow: The Right Way to Lift

lift box
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Lifting a briefcase, purse, or toolbox, in the palm-up position relieves stress on the tendons that are irritated in patients with tennis elbow.  The reason is the muscles and tendons used to stabilize the wrist joint are the wrist flexor muscles, not the wrist extensor muscles.  It is the wrist extensors that are irritated and inflamed in people who have tennis elbow.

This can be compared to lifting in the palm-down hand position that does tend to stress the tendons irritated in patients with tennis elbow. Unfortunately, most patients naturally lift these types of objects in the palm-down position, and therefore contribute to the chronic irritation seen in tennis elbow.


Tennis Elbow: The Wrong Way to Lift

lift grip
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Lifting a briefcase, purse, or toolbox, in the palm-down position stresses the tendons that are irritated in patients with tennis elbow.

Instead, lifting in the palm-up position, will not place any pressure on the irritated tendons, and will not cause pain. Furthermore, by allowing the injured tendons to rest, this may help cure the pain of tennis elbow.

Unfortunately, the palm-down hand position is often more 'natural,' and patients must think about how they are lifting objects before they actually pick them up!

Try it! If you have tennis elbow, try lifting a briefcase, or similar object (heavy purse, suitcase, shopping bag, toolbox) in both positions, and see which is more comfortable.

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