Have you ever experienced pain and discomfort around your elbow area?
You could be experiencing what is commonly known as ‘tennis elbow.’
Although the name implies an athlete’s injury, non-athletes can suffer from this, especially if they overuse their forearm, arm, and hand muscles. It is medically known as ‘lateral epicondyle.’
Let’s go through how to treat a tennis elbow using a kinesiology tape so you can go back to playing your favorite sport or use your entire range of motion in no time.
Identify the Issue
Before diving into the actual procedure, let’s figure out what ‘tennis elbow’ means. This condition is often the result of having abrupt and subtle injury inflicted on the tendon and muscle area of the elbow.
The reason behind its name is that it commonly happens among tennis players.
However, it is also referred to as ‘golfer’s elbow’ and can affect any athlete that engages in repetitive arm movements, such as baseball players, golfers, and bowlers.
Most non-athletes that suffer from this are those whose daily activities require them to continuously use their arms as people who do landscaping, housekeepers who regularly use mops and vacuum cleaners, and assembly line workers, among others.
It’s not the specific activity but the repetitive motion that often leads to tennis elbow. Even office workers can suffer from tennis elbow if they’re not careful.
Tennis elbow mainly affects your dominant arm, but either of your elbows can be affected. Although overuse is one of the main factors of this condition, an abrupt injury can also cause tennis elbow.
Procedure for Taping Your Elbow
Before proceeding, ensure the area you plan to stick the tape on is free from dirt, sweat, and debris. If it’s hairy, it might be a good idea to shave it to help the adhesive.
You should also make sure that the tape you’re using isn’t something that can irritate your skin. If you experience irritation, remove the tape and consult a professional.
There are also different ways you can apply tape to your elbow. It all depends on individual factors. Generally, taping your elbow requires a second person to help you, but it’s also possible to do it yourself.
Now, here are easy steps for applying kinesiology tape to your elbow by yourself:
- Locate the specific area/s in your arm that are sore. If you want to, you can mark it on your skin, making it easier to know where you need to stick the tape.
- Then, determine how long you need your tape strips to be. Eight inches of unstretched tape can work fine. This technique uses two strips of tape eight inches long.
- Round off the corners of the tape using scissors to ensure that it won’t fall off the skin easily.
- Take one end of the tape and peel it off, then lay it halfway down the back of your forearm. While placing the end down on your skin, put it at an angle that allows the tape to travel over the sore area once you start laying it down.
- Straighten your elbow to the best extent you can manage, rotate your arm inwards, and bend your hand toward your wrist, with the palm facing inwards. Hold that position as you start laying the tape down.
- Next, place one end of the tape on the back of your forearm at an angle that covers the sore area on your arm. Make sure the first inch of tape has no stretch as this may irritate the skin. Pull the strip up your arm, stretching it by only about fifty percent.
- Continue pulling off the paper backing as you lay the tape over your arm. Then, when only an inch of tape is left, place the end on your skin without stretching it.
- Repeat the process with your second tape strip at a different angle this time. You want to create an X pattern with both strips meeting at the highest point of pain.
- Once the tape is applied, rub your hand quickly and firmly over the tape, for about ten seconds, to heat the adhesive so the entire tape sticks to your skin.
If you are unable to do it by yourself, here are the steps you can do with your helper:
- Find someplace to sit and make sure you are comfortable. Then, raise the arm with the sore area to one side and keep it straightened. Make sure your fingertips are pointing downwards.
- Your helper will have to cut a strip of kinesiology tape long enough to cover the back of your hand and your elbow. Just like the DIY technique, the corners of the tape should be rounded off with scissors.
- Make sure they apply the tape without any stretch, starting from the back of your hand and finishing just below the elbow on the same side of your arm where your thumb is.
- Then, have your helper cut another strip of tape at half the length as the first one.
- Apply the tape without any stretch too, starting at the point where the first strip ended. Then bring it to the inside of your arm at an angle that lets it cover the sore spot and finish on the side of your arm where your little finger is, halfway down your forearm.
If you want more stabilization of your arm, you can have another person cut a short length of the tape and stretch it by holding both ends and pulling them at the same time. Then apply the center of the tape to your wrist’s backside, wrapping both sides of the tape around the wrist and applying tension.
The tension is released after sticking the rest of the tape at each end. It doesn’t need to encircle your entire wrist, so you won’t need to worry if the ends don’t meet.
After the tape has been applied, you might notice that both your skin and the tape become a bit wrinkled every time you bend your elbow. That’s a good thing!
When your skin wrinkles, some of the tissue layers within and below the skin are lifted enough to allow better fluid movement and flow for fluids in the pain point of your elbow.
How Kinesiology Taping Works
The way kinesiology taping works is different from your regular athletic tape, which generally serves as a brace-like structure around your joint that restricts movement. Here is a more proper explanation of how using a kinesiology tape can provide pain relief for your elbow.
- Minimizes the pressure in your elbow
A kinesiology tape can help manage the symptoms of ‘tennis elbow’ by decreasing the load and the stress on the elbow every time your muscle contracts. The tape is placed in a way that restricts muscle activity and reduces irritation that usually occurs in the tissue connecting the tendon and the bone.
- Adjust your pain
Applying the best waterproof Kinesiology Tape results in the skin and underlying tissues stretching and providing constant pressure on the sore area. This pressure and stretch alter how your brain processes the pain or interrupts its transmission.
- Helps improve self-awareness
Using a kinesiology tape helps you become more aware of both your body movement and placement. With a kinesiology tape applied to your arm and elbow, it will serve as a constant reminder for you to keep your arm and elbow movement to a minimum and avoid any strenuous activities. Improved self-awareness such as this is also called proprioception.
It can be frustrating and annoying to have to deal with tennis elbow. It’s a better idea to seek a professional healthcare provider immediately so you’re able to be provided with the specific treatment that you need.
However, it does help to apply kinesiology tape over the area. Aside from the tape’s sensation on your skin distracting your brain from the pain, it’s also able to improve the flow of fluids in the affected area. You can find high-quality and effective kinesiology tapes here.
Tennis elbow taping is a great option for treatment that can be done during a physical therapy session or at home. Combining this with other treatments for tennis elbow, especially, can help speed up your recovery time and further reduce any pain.