How Can Massage Therapy Help With Tennis Elbow?

  • Massage Therapy
  • March 11, 2024
  • 4 min read
massage therapy on tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is a condition that is not usually anything to do with tennis; most sufferers of tennis elbow have probably not been near a tennis racket since school! Tennis elbow is, in fact, the term for a condition known clinically as lateral epicondylitis.

Pain is felt around the outside of the elbow, around the outside of the upper forearm and is most keenly felt when lifting or bending the arm. People with tennis elbow may also have difficulty in gripping and twisting the forearm – such as holding pens or opening a jar or turning handles, they may also have having difficulty extending the forearm. Common causes of tennis elbow include:

Strenuous overuse of the muscles and tendons in the forearm at the point the arm bone anchors to the elbow.

  • Unaccustomed usage – eg painting a fence in a day, typing or DIY.
  • Excessive gripping or wringing activities – large amounts of hand washing!
  • Poor technique when playing tennis or other racket sports (especially backhand movements).
  • Tight muscles in the forearm or poor strength.
  • Pain on the inside of the elbow is commonly known as Golfers Elbow.

The bony elbow joint is surrounded by muscles attached by tendons which control the muscles of the forearm – tennis elbow is most commonly caused by overusing the muscles attached to the elbow joint, if the muscles and tendons are strained then inflammation and tearing can occur near the bony part of the outside of the elbow.

Read More: Great Reasons To Choose Massage Therapy As A Career

How Does Massage Therapy Help Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is a long, bothersome injury which can easily reoccur. Leaving the elbow to rest and mend itself can take anywhere between 6 months and 2 years, preventing reinjury is important.

Heat or cold compresses may help with inflammation as will non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as Ibuprofen) and paracetamol will help to ease the pain. Deep tissue massage to the forearm is a very effective method of easing tennis elbow and healing it much faster than rest alone.

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Deep tissue massage will enhance circulation and combining this with friction therapy to the tendons on the elbow joint, positive results are seen. Friction therapy breaks down the tension in the tendons, while deep tissue massage techniques will break up scar tissue, alleviate pain, release muscle spasms and improve flexibility.

It is important to note that patience is essential when treating tennis elbow to avoid reinjury, it is tempting to resume the normal activity as soon as symptoms are relieved.

Damaged structures are still vulnerable and can easily tear once more before the healing process is fully complete. A few sessions of massage and exercising caution while the tissues are strengthened gradually will ensure that injuries will heal in the long term.

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Ivy Adams
Massage Therapy Program Chair

Born and raised in Las Vegas, Ivy is a proud graduate of Northwest Career College, class of 1999, and has been a Licensed Massage Therapist ever since. Her eighteen years of experience has taken her through an eclectic array of…Read Full Bio