If you catch tennis elbow at an early stage (preferably day one) and you stop doing the offending activity, or at least modify it to the best of your ability, you will get better and you probably won’t have to come see the likes of me. But most of you will not do this. I’m going to go through a list of activities which commonly lead to or aggravate tennis elbow, and describe ways to modify them, so you can see what I’m talking about. Let me first say that stopping the activity cold is the best thing to do, but with tennis elbow, those activities can be the most commonly performed activities in your daily routine. They are activities you simply can’t stop doing cold turkey.
- So first…if you can…change hands when you take care of “your business”… I can tell you from personal experience, after breaking my right arm and being in a long arm cast for 6 weeks…that is almost an impossible task. But you can do it. That, or go install a bidet…
- Shaking hands can be a killer. You can try giving people what I call the “dead carp handshake.” You know what that is. It’s when you simply hand someone else your hand, like it’s a dead fish, instead of returning the firm grip. But if you give someone a firm grip and they give it back, you might just drop to your knees in pain when you have tennis elbow. Quit shaking hands. Wrap an ace bandage around your hand or put on a wrist brace, so people know you’ve got an injured wing. It’s hard to tell everyone that you can’t shake hands. Just show them the bandaged hand and make your greetings.
- Brief cases. The business trip can be just like playing in a weekend tennis tournament for those with tennis elbow. Three days of shaking hands and lugging a brief case around will do you in. Ditch the brief case. I often amaze myself at how little I actually need to lug around. Try to put your brief case down and leave it. Carry the brief case on one of those little rolling carts. Convert to a back pack for a few months or for good. DO NOT lift it with your fist pointed down. At least turn your palm up to grasp and lift it.
- Milk cartons and heavy pitchers in the refrigerator. Get smaller ones. Move them down to the lower shelf and pick them up with both hands. We should all do this any way. These big items on the top shelf of our refrigerator often contribute to tennis elbow and shoulder bursitis http://drbarbarabergin.com/speaking-of-scourges-shoulder-bursitis-part-1-2/ . Move them down for good.
- Lift and carry things close to your body, palms up and using your biceps to do most of the work. If possible, stop lifting heavy things for a while. And you might as well do it now, because trust me, you will eventually have to stop. Actually, that goes for all the above. Eventually your elbow will force you to give in. The pain almost always wins.
- And the list goes on. If it hurts to do something…stop it or at least modify how you do it, including playing tennis! At least play a little less for a while. Forgo that 3 day tournament where you’re playing on two teams! They can find someone else. And if they can’t, it will at least remind them of just how important you are!
At least try to make some modifications. No one ever guaranteed you’d be able to do everything at all times! Just give something up… maybe wiping yourself…just a little less??? Maybe? Please???
But of course there are other things. Things you can do and things I can do. So keep reading.