There exists a simple fact that no one enjoys the experience of pain associated with tennis elbow. An unfortunate statistic is that close to 50 percent of tennis players will at some point, suffer from tennis elbow. When trying to pick out a new racquet it is advised that tennis elbow not be a consideration, but for some it is. Whether that means that they are trying to prevent it, or heal it, it is a concern. So first let us understand a little more about this tennis elbow painful experience.
What Is Tennis Elbow?
According to WebMD, Tennis elbow is a condition where the outer part of the elbow becomes sore at the lateral epicondyle. The root cause is that the muscles and tendons of the forearm become damaged from overuse of the same motion over a long period of time. This in turn leads to pain and tenderness in the elbow. Although most commonly associated with the game of tennis, it can affect a wide range of people from golfers to carpenters.
What Causes Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is caused by a repetitive overuse of the same motion by the arm over a period of time. In terms of tennis this means that playing the same shots frequently, as you would in a game or practice can bring tennis elbow on.
The key problem is the repetitive nature of playing the same shots often as this can cause acute tendinitis of the exterior forearm muscles which in turn leads to the elbow becoming sore. It can also result in wrist pain such as when gripping the racquet or lifting it up to serve.
Interestingly, recent research suggests that tennis elbow can be caused by mis-hitting the ball when learning to play as this puts strain on the forearm muscles and elbow joint.
It is also thought that increased playing time can lead to the condition. This is mainly applicable to pro or semi-pro players though so amateurs need not worry. With any sort of inflammation-related pain, healing requires rest that is difficult with an injury that affects a commonly used muscle.
How To Prevent And Cure Tennis Elbow
Basically there are three ways to curb tennis elbow, they include: preventing it from occurring, choosing the right tennis equipment and wearing a brace. The best thing you can do to stop it happening to you is to learn how to properly hit common tennis shots. As above, one of the main causes is poor technique or mis-hitting the ball regularly so learning from a professional will help avoid this.
Making sure you are using the correct racquet on the court is also an important consideration. Your racquet must be the right size for you and the correct weight. Make sure that you are using soft strings like gut strings and that the racquet has a lower string tension as this will reduce the impact on you when you hit the ball. Down below, we have selected the best tennis racquets for tennis elbow for you!
If you have already got tennis elbow then the best advice is to take a break from playing until it heals. Rest is the best cure for this type of condition so if you feel any pain in the elbow, take it easy until it feels better!
Choosing The Best Tennis Elbow Racquet
While solving for tennis or golfer’s elbow can be challenging, there are some general guidelines and recommendations that players can consider when selecting a racquet. The first step is to make gradual changes to the equipment that the player is using, trying to find a combination that they are happy and pain-free with.
So what factors of a tennis racquet affect tennis elbow? First off, we are going to entirely ignore technologies as if they do not exist and focus onto on the controllable specifications of a racquet without any proprietary technology applications.
So, a racquet is typically defined by the parameters of: weight, balance, swing weight, head size, length, flex, and string pattern. Of these seven properties, how many apply to comfort and tennis elbow safety? Unfortunately, the answer is all of them, to differing degrees. So let us move down the list one at a time.
If a racquet is too heavy, the player is likely to compensate with poor technique and late contact. A frame that is too light will lead to mishits along with a lack of stability and vibration absorption.
With regards to tennis elbow, it is simple physics that says a heavier racquet purely has a greater mass to absorb shock and vibration. Thus find the heaviest frame that you can comfortably play from an arm comfort viewpoint.
Balance is typically linked to the static weight of a frame. As the weight bias of the frame moves towards the handle, the racquet becomes easier to maneuver, lowering the risk of making contact late.
In exchange for the faster movement, the head becomes lighter, lowering its own resistance to deflection and increasing its susceptibility to vibration and shock. The ideal balance is the one in which you are able to experience the stability of the weight in the head, while still remaining mobile and comfortable.
Swing weight can be considered a measurement of the mass of the frame as it moves through the air. In a way, swing weight is a shorthand method of determining the amount of weight in the head that will be acting on an impact, so a higher value means greater stability and shock absorption, but also a greater amount of strain on the arm, especially noticeable on off-center hits.
When it comes to comfort and arm safety, the larger the head size is, the better it is for the arm. By using a larger head size, you effectively decrease the stiffness of the string bed and give yourself a larger sweet spot, both properties that are conducive to arm safety by minimizing shock.
A typical fact is that a longer racquet will have a higher swing weight than a racquet of similar weight but shorter length. Even if we assume that the two frames have the same swing weight, the longer racquet will do more damage to the arm because the contact point is farther away from the arm.
Flex is only measured at one point along the length of the racquet, that being the throat. When it comes to flex, the idea is to look for something that is relatively low in flex, but as frames become more flexible they tend to lose some of their stability. This, in addition to various technologies designed to alleviate tennis elbow, makes it difficult to judge a frame based on only one isolated flex measurement.
The more open pattern will provide a softer feel and less shock than a frame with a denser string pattern, assuming the same tension. This is because the greater number of string intersections will limit the amount of string bed deflection, in a way similar to a smaller head size will. The greater string bed deflection allows the unit to act as a softer entity in the energy transfer that happens at contact.
The Best Tennis Elbow Racquets
One of the best ways to prevent getting tennis elbow is to use the right tennis racquet for tennis elbow. This will be slightly different for everyone as we are all unique but there are some general things to look for when buying a racquet for tennis elbow as discussed above.
Wilson Blade 98
This is a superb racquet to use when you are thinking about racquets for tennis elbow. It is -6 head light which makes it easy to maneuver and that the impact of striking the ball is taken by the handle of the racquet.
The strung weight is 11.3 which is just about right in terms of it being easy on your arm when playing. Its flexibility score is 63, having enough to ensure it is comfortable to play with and absorb the racquet on ball vibrations.
One of the best features of this racquet is that it has a big sweet spot meaning that it is easier to hit the ball properly. To cut down on vibrations in your wrist, Wilson has also fitted an amplified handle to the head of the tennis racquet. This results in a great advantage when avoiding or curing tennis elbow.
Prince Textreme Tour 100
Prince are well known for producing brilliant racquets and this one is no exception. As with the Wilson, it comes with all the features to help with any tennis elbow problems. The weight of it is really nice – it is not too heavy but has enough about it to take the strain of playing and protect you.
It is another head light product too so this helps in preventing undue physical stress on you when on court. The RDC Flex rating comes in at 59 which is fairly flexible and gives a nice feeling when you hit the ball with it.
The strung weight is comparable with the Wilson at 11.3 and a length of 27 inches is perfect for reducing any shocks to the body that might cause tennis elbow. Being this length and size also makes the racquet very easy to swing and play with.
HEAD Graphene XT Prestige
The HEAD Graphene XT Prestige racquet is a great product and a great tennis racquet for tennis elbow afflicted people. The head measures 98 square inches which may seem a little small but in many ways, this is perfect for what we need.
The smaller head makes the racquet easier to use and control your shots – this in turn takes away any problems caused by mis-hitting balls. The beam profile of it is nice and thin which leads to a flexible frame.
It is another racquet that is head light with all the previously discussed advantages this brings. The weight distribution of this racquet is heavily optimized preventing torque from going into the wrist from the handle. Overall the Head Graphene XT Prestige is a racquet for tennis elbow with the right amount of power, weight and control that makes it a joy to play with.
YONEX EZone DR 98
One of the best racquets out there for tennis elbow is the Yonex EZone DR 98. This has one of the lowest flex ratings (59) which makes the racquet flexible and easier to swing with. The strung weight is 11.4oz and it comes with soft GUT strings to reduce stress on the wrist and forearm when striking.
The beam size is not too thick and tapers down to 19mm which again helps with making the racquet flexible. It is head light making the racquet take the strain and vibrations of hitting the ball rather than your elbow.
Yonex has also included an oval pressed shaft with this racquet to help with control and flexibility. Yonex also included a feature called Quake Shut Gel which filters out unwanted vibrations going into your wrist and hand. With all of these vibration dampening features, the Yonex Ezone is one of the best tennis racquets for tennis elbow.
As you can see there is a lot you can consider when making adjustments to your racquet to accommodate for tennis elbow. Recognizing this, individual players need to weigh the pros and cons of making adjustments to their racquet and strings in an effort to reduce the symptoms of tennis elbow.