What to Avoid With Tennis Elbow

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Title: What to Avoid With Tennis Elbow: A Comprehensive Guide


Tennis elbow, medically known as lateral epicondylitis, is a common condition that affects the tendons in the elbow. It is often caused by repetitive motions, such as those found in racquet sports like tennis, but can also result from various other activities. While treatment options exist to alleviate the symptoms of tennis elbow, it is equally important to understand what to avoid to prevent aggravating the condition further. In this article, we will discuss the activities and habits to steer clear of when dealing with tennis elbow, along with addressing some frequently asked questions related to this condition.

What to Avoid:

1. Continued Overuse: One of the most crucial steps in managing tennis elbow is to avoid any activities or motions that exacerbate the pain. This includes avoiding repetitive arm movements, gripping objects too tightly, and lifting heavy weights.

2. Incorrect Technique: Poor form while playing sports or performing certain activities can put unnecessary strain on the tendons, worsening the condition. Seek guidance from a coach or professional to ensure proper form and technique.

3. Forceful Gripping: Avoid gripping objects too tightly, as it can strain the affected tendons. Opt for tools with handles that provide ergonomic support to reduce strain.

4. Heavy Lifting: Engaging in heavy lifting can exacerbate symptoms and delay the healing process. Ensure that you lift objects correctly, using your legs instead of your arms.

5. Poor Warm-up and Cool-down: Skipping warm-up exercises or neglecting to cool down after physical activity increases the risk of injury. Always incorporate proper warm-up and cool-down routines to prevent further damage to the tendons.

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6. Repetitive Computer Use: Typing on a keyboard or using a mouse for extended periods can aggravate tennis elbow symptoms. Take frequent breaks, use ergonomic equipment, and maintain good posture while working.

7. Excessive Smartphone Usage: Constantly using your smartphone, especially for activities like texting or playing games that involve repetitive finger movements, can strain the tendons in your elbow. Take regular breaks and avoid prolonged smartphone usage.

8. Incorrect Equipment: Using equipment that is ill-fitted or not suited to your needs can contribute to tennis elbow. Ensure that your sports equipment, tools, and devices are properly adjusted and suitable for your body mechanics.

9. Inadequate Rest: Insufficient rest and recovery can impede the healing process. Give your affected arm ample time to rest to allow the tendons to heal.

10. Ignoring Pain Signals: Pushing through the pain can worsen the condition. If you experience pain or discomfort, it is vital to listen to your body and take appropriate measures to rest and recover.

11. Sudden Intensity Increase: Avoid sudden increases in intensity during physical activity. Gradually progress to more demanding exercises to avoid straining the tendons.

12. Inadequate Protective Measures: Failing to use appropriate protective gear during sports or other activities increases the risk of injury. Wear supportive equipment such as elbow braces or straps to reduce strain on the tendons.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. Can tennis elbow heal on its own?
– In some cases, tennis elbow can heal on its own with proper rest and treatment. However, seeking medical advice is recommended for a more effective recovery.

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2. How long does it take to recover from tennis elbow?
– Recovery time varies for each individual and may range from weeks to several months. It depends on the severity of the condition and adherence to treatment protocols.

3. Can I continue playing tennis with tennis elbow?
– It is best to avoid playing tennis or any other activity that aggravates the symptoms until the condition has improved. Consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice.

4. Are there any exercises that can help with tennis elbow?
– Yes, specific exercises, such as wrist curls and eccentric exercises, can help strengthen the muscles and tendons in the affected area. Consult with a physical therapist for personalized exercise recommendations.

5. Can I use ice or heat for pain relief?
– Both ice and heat can provide temporary pain relief. Apply ice packs for 15-20 minutes several times a day during the acute phase, and consider heat therapy during the subacute or chronic phase.

6. Can I still lift weights with tennis elbow?
– It is generally advisable to avoid lifting heavy weights during the acute phase of tennis elbow. Engage in lighter weightlifting exercises or consult with a professional for appropriate modifications.

7. Is surgery necessary for tennis elbow?
– Surgery is usually considered a last resort when conservative treatments fail to alleviate symptoms. The majority of cases can be successfully managed with non-surgical approaches.

8. Can physical therapy help with tennis elbow?
– Physical therapy can be highly beneficial in managing tennis elbow. It includes various techniques such as exercises, manual therapy, and ultrasound therapy to promote healing and reduce pain.

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9. Does wearing an elbow brace provide relief?
– Elbow braces or straps can help alleviate symptoms by providing support and reducing strain on the affected tendons. Consult with a healthcare professional for proper fitting and usage instructions.

10. Can I prevent tennis elbow?
– While it may not always be preventable, you can reduce your risk of developing tennis elbow by maintaining proper form during physical activities, using proper equipment, and gradually increasing intensity.

11. Can stress or anxiety worsen tennis elbow symptoms?
– Stress and anxiety can indirectly exacerbate symptoms by increasing muscle tension and reducing the body’s ability to heal. Managing stress levels through relaxation techniques may be helpful.

12. When should I consult a healthcare professional for tennis elbow?
– It is advisable to consult a healthcare professional if the pain persists or worsens despite conservative measures, if there is difficulty performing daily activities, or if symptoms interfere with sleep.


Avoiding activities and habits that exacerbate tennis elbow is crucial for a successful recovery. By understanding what to avoid and making necessary lifestyle adjustments, individuals with tennis elbow can minimize pain, promote healing, and prevent further damage to the tendons. Remember, seeking professional advice and adhering to personalized treatment plans are essential for a speedy recovery.