In this post, we will discuss the widespread prevalence of tennis elbow among adults and suggest reasons to use k tape for tennis elbow pain.
Tennis elbow pain is one of the most common arm/elbow injuries suffered by most adults. This is partly because, despite its name, it really has little or nothing to do with the sport of tennis. Instead, it can be caused by any activity that requires application of gripping force combined with repetitive minute hand or wrist movements. As a result, its prevalence may be much wider than many people imagine.
In what follows below, we will provide examples of the types of activities that may cause tennis elbow. We will then move on to discuss the advantages of using k tape for tennis elbow pain. Finally, we will suggest a method for applying k tape to treat tennis elbow.
Activities That May Cause Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition characterized by pain and inflammation in the tendons on the outer (lateral) side of the elbow. While the name suggests a connection to tennis, this injury can occur due to various activities that involve repetitive wrist and arm movements. Some examples of activities that may cause tennis elbow pain include:
- Playing Tennis: The repetitive motions involved in swinging a tennis racket, particularly during backhand strokes, can strain the tendons in the elbow and lead to tennis elbow.
- Golfing: Golfers can develop tennis elbow due to the repetitive motion of gripping and swinging a golf club, especially if their swing technique places excessive strain on the forearm tendons.
- Weightlifting: Certain weightlifting exercises, such as bicep curls, wrist curls, or barbell/dumbbell rows, can put stress on the tendons in the elbow joint and contribute to tennis elbow, especially if performed with incorrect form or excessive weight.
- Painting: Repetitive use of a paintbrush or roller, particularly when painting walls or ceilings, can strain the tendons in the elbow and result in tennis elbow.
- Carpentry and Construction Work: Tasks involving repetitive gripping, lifting, or using hand tools, such as hammering, drilling, or screwing, can place excessive stress on the tendons and contribute to tennis elbow.
- Typing and Computer Use: Prolonged and repetitive typing or using a computer mouse without proper ergonomics or breaks can strain the forearm muscles and tendons, potentially leading to tennis elbow.
- Cooking and Culinary Activities: Frequent chopping, slicing, or stirring motions in the kitchen can contribute to tennis elbow over time, especially if proper technique or ergonomic tools are not utilized.
- Gardening: Activities like digging, raking, pruning, or using manual gardening tools can strain the tendons in the elbow and lead to tennis elbow, particularly when performed for extended periods without breaks.
- Assembly Line Work: Jobs that involve repetitive motions, such as assembly line work or factory tasks, can put strain on the tendons in the elbow and contribute to the development of tennis elbow.
It’s important to note that while these activities are common contributors to tennis elbow, individual factors such as technique, frequency, duration, and ergonomic considerations can also influence the likelihood of developing this condition.
Pros & Cons Of Using K Tape For Tennis Elbow Pain
Using kinesiology tape, commonly referred to as k tape, for tennis elbow pain can have both pros and cons. Below are some potential advantages and disadvantages of using this approach to treat tennis elbow.
5 Advantages Of Using K Tape for Tennis Elbow Pain
Pros of using k tape for tennis elbow pain:
- Pain Relief: K tape is believed to provide pain relief by lifting the skin slightly, which can help reduce pressure on the underlying tissues and alleviate discomfort associated with tennis elbow.
- Support and Stability: K tape can offer external support and stability to the muscles and tendons around the elbow joint, potentially improving joint mechanics and reducing strain on the affected area.
- Range of Motion: K tape is designed to be flexible and elastic, allowing for a wide range of motion. When applied correctly, it can provide support without limiting movement, allowing individuals to continue their daily activities or sports with less pain.
- Easy Application: K tape is relatively easy to apply, and there are various techniques and tutorials available to guide users on the proper application for tennis elbow. It can be self-applied or done with the help of a trained professional.
- Non-Invasive and Drug-Free: K tape is a non-invasive and drug-free option for managing tennis elbow pain. It can be used as a complementary or alternative treatment to medications or other therapeutic interventions.
5 Cons Of Using K Tape For Tennis Elbow Pain
Although there are many advantages of using k tape for tennis elbow, there are also some potential disadvantages that you should be aware of. Below we present 5 “cons” of using k tape for tennis elbow pain:
- Limited Evidence: The effectiveness of k tape for tennis elbow pain is still a subject of debate. While some individuals may experience pain relief and improved function, scientific evidence supporting its specific benefits for tennis elbow is limited and mixed.
- Individual Variability: The response to k tape can vary from person to person. Some individuals may find significant relief, while others may experience minimal or no improvement in their symptoms.
- Skin Sensitivity: Some people may have skin sensitivity or irritation in response to the adhesive in k tape. This can cause discomfort or a rash-like reaction, making it unsuitable for certain individuals.
- Short-Term Relief: K tape is typically used for short-term relief or as a temporary measure. Its effects may not be long-lasting, and repeated applications may be necessary to maintain any benefits.
- Cost: K tape can be relatively expensive compared to other treatment options for tennis elbow pain. Ongoing use can lead to additional costs, especially if professional application is sought.
It’s important to note that while k tape may provide relief for some individuals with tennis elbow pain, it is not a substitute for proper diagnosis and comprehensive treatment. Consulting with a healthcare professional or physical therapist is recommended to determine the most suitable approach for managing tennis elbow and to address any underlying causes or contributing factors.
A Suggested Approach For Applying K Tape To Treat Tennis Elbow
Below we present a suggested approach for the application of k tape to treat a tennis elbow injury. However, we caution that there is more than one recommended approach. You should check with your healthcare provider to determine the approach best suited for your individual case.
Applying kinesiology tape (k tape) for tennis elbow can be done following a step-by-step process. Here’s a general guide for applying k tape to treat tennis elbow:
- Clean and Dry the Skin: Start by cleaning the skin around the affected area to remove any dirt, oils, or lotions that may affect the tape’s adhesion. Ensure the skin is dry before proceeding.
- Measure and Cut the Tape: Measure the appropriate length of k tape needed to cover the affected area. Cut the tape with rounded edges to prevent premature peeling or catching on clothing.
- Prepare the Skin: If desired, you can apply a pre-taping spray or rub the area with rubbing alcohol to improve tape adhesion. Allow the skin to dry completely before applying the tape.
- Anchor Point: Begin by creating an anchor point for the tape. Tear the backing of the k tape at one end, leaving a few inches unpeeled. Apply this section directly to the skin near the outer aspect of the elbow. Ensure it is firmly pressed down without excessive tension.
- Tension and Application: Holding the anchor point in place, gently stretch the k tape to approximately 50-75% of its maximum stretch. This provides the desired tension for support without over-restricting movement. Apply the stretched tape over the painful area, following the path of the affected tendons. Avoid excessive tension or wrinkles in the tape.
- End Point: Once you have covered the desired area, leave a small unpeeled section at the end of the tape to create an end point. This ensures proper adhesion and prevents premature lifting. Press down firmly to secure the end point.
- Rub and Activate the Adhesive: Rub the entire applied tape with your hand or a tape adherent to activate the adhesive and enhance adhesion. This step helps the tape adhere better to the skin and improves its longevity.
- Assess Comfort and Range of Motion: Once applied, ensure the k tape is comfortable and does not cause any excessive tension or discomfort. Test the range of motion of the elbow to ensure the tape does not restrict movement excessively.
As stated above, this is a general guideline, and it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or physical therapist who can provide personalized guidance and ensure the tape is applied correctly for your specific condition and needs. They can assess your symptoms, provide proper instructions, and address any concerns or questions you may have.
An Illustration Of The Use Of K Tape For Tennis Elbow Treatment
The video below will provide more guidance on the use of k tape to treat tennis elbow. For best results, we suggest applying the tape with the help of your medical advisor, ideally a qualified physiotherapist or kinesiologist.
In this article, we have presented an explanation of the potential causes of tennis elbow injuries as well as an explanation of some of the pros and cons of using k tape for tennis elbow pain. Finally, we have suggested some guidelines on the use of k tape to treat tennis elbow.
In conclusion, we caution readers that the views expressed above should not be regarded as a substitute for professional medical advice. Please rely on a qualified medical professional for advice on the treatment of your specific injury.
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