As you are probably well aware, tennis elbow affects many people who have never even picked up a racket. While it is a common condition that tennis players get, it is simply the overuse of the hand muscles, forearm, and arm. This condition causes a painful elbow and is also known as the medical term, lateral epicondyle.
The problem is that when you have tennis elbow, you may feel like you cannot do the things you love. Whether it's sports activities or day-to-day activities where using your arm is necessary - tennis elbow causes pain and discomfort that keeps you from enjoying life. Luckily, there is help with Kinesiology tape. This simple yet amazing product provides a multitude of uses and can be used most anywhere - whether you're on the court or at home.
Using Kinesiology tape for tennis elbow may require a second person to help you but it is an excellent way to give support to the elbow while allowing full movement and with another person helping, you can get the support you need in no time at all.
What is Tennis Elbow?
This condition is caused by two types of injury to the tendon and muscle area around the elbow - both abrupt injury and subtle injury. The reason it is called tennis elbow is for the simple fact that it is common among tennis players. However, you may have even heard of this injury being called "golfer's elbow" as well. This is an injury that affects many athletes as long as they engage in repetitive movement. This includes bowlers, baseball players, and golfers. However, non-athletes that use their arm continuously are affected by tennis elbow as well such as those who do landscaping, assembly line workers, and even housekeepers who use vacuum cleaners and mops on a regular basis. It is the repetitive motion, not the specific type of activity that causes tennis elbow. In fact, even office workers have been known to get tennis elbow.
It mainly affects the dominant arm although it can affect either elbow. Overuse is one of the main factors in having tennis elbow but as stated, an abrupt injury also causes this injury.
Statistics show that while approximately 50% of tennis players have this problem, between 1% and 3% of the general population gets it too. An important thing to note is that even though this is prevalent throughout the tennis playing community, 5% or less of the pain is actually caused by playing tennis.
There are a few symptoms that point to having tennis elbow including:
- Pain that is around the outer elbow area. This pain usually increases over time but can also show up suddenly, especially with an abrupt injury.
- Pain will increase when squeezing or doing similar things like shaking hands with someone or squeezing a stress ball.
- Pain also increases when the wrist is used with force or stabilized. For example, opening lids on a jar, lifting items, or sometimes even simple tasks such as brushing your teeth or eating with a knife and fork.
How Does Kinesiology Tape Work?
Kinesiology tape is perfect for athletes since it still allows for range of motion just not enough to cause more injury. It is made out of latex-free 100% elastic fibers and was developed by Dr. Kenzo Kase from Japan. While it was invented in the late 70s, the United States was introduced to this form of treatment in the mid 90's.
The Kinesiology tape is ideal for athletes since it can be applied even in the middle of an activity. It works for both rehab and alignment and is often used as a pain deterrent. Kinesiology Tape is used for many ailments, injuries, and pain. Tennis elbow is just one use that also includes chronic pain and as a rehabilitation device.
How to Use Kinesiology Tape for Tennis Elbow
Kinesiology tape works well for tennis elbow and can be used easily but you may want to have someone with you since it is hard to apply the tape to yourself, especially using a non-dominant hand if your dominant arm is the one affected.
How to Prepare
Shave the area if it is hairy. This ensures that the tape will stick to the area that is to be covered with the Kinesiology tape. You will also want to make sure the same area is free from sweat, dirty, and debris so make certain to clean the area as well.
What You Will Need Available
- 5cm Kinesiology Tape
- Optional items include Zinc Oxide tape and 2.5cm Kinesiology tape in addition to the 5cm tape required
Here is what you need to do along with your helper
Sit comfortably in a chair and lift the arm you are having problems with. Raise it out to one side, keeping the elbow straightened.Flex your wrist so that your fingertips are pointing down towards the floor.
Your helper will need to cut a strip of 5cm-wide Kinesiology tape. This should be long enough to reach from the back of your hand to your elbow. As always, they should round off the ends of the tape with scissors then apply the tape with no stretch. Start on the back of the hand and run it up the arm to finish just below the elbow on the same side of the arm as the thumb, which is the lateral side.
Your helper will need to now cut another 5cm strip of Kinesiology tape, which is about half of the length as the first one. The application should be the same - apply the tape without any stretch. Start at about the same point where the first one ended and bring it down the inside of the arm at an angle, to finish on the same side of the arm as your little finger, which is the medial side, to about halfway down the forearm.
For more stabilization, there is an optional step that you can take. If you choose to add this wrist stabilization, have your helper cut a short length of the 5cm tape and then stretch it by pulling it from each end at the same time or from either end. Have the helper apply the center of the Kinesiology tape to the backside of your wrist and then wrap each side around the wrist under tension. The helper will then release the tension before they stick down the rest of the tape at each end. This piece does not have to encircle the entire wrist so it does not have to meet on the ends.
There are also variations on this application. For instance, in section three, a more aggressive approach can be applied by cutting a strip of the 2.5cm tape and encircle the forearm, right beneath the elbow area. This should be where the pain is typically focused. Apply it with stretch and stick the ends down without tension. This approach is similar to wearing a tennis elbow strap and is a little more of an aggressive approach than step three takes.
If you want to learn more about tennis elbow prevention or how to treat the symptoms, feel free to contact us so we can help. We offer a wide range of Kinesiology tape including pre-cut Kinesiology tape, Kinesiology scissors, and decorative colors in all of our tapes.