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Tennis Elbow is Not Caused Due to Improperly Sized Tennis Racket Grip

Clinicians attending to patients suffering from tennis elbow ask them to alter the grip size of their racket to ease muscle fatigue.// A new study evaluating the muscle firing patterns in the forearm demonstrates that grip size has no bearing on the development of tendonitis.

Researchers apparently have "gotten a grip" on the relationship between the development of tennis elbow (tendonitis) and the size of the grip on the racket a player uses.

A grip that is either too big or too small for the player's hand is not a factor in whether or not a player may develop tennis elbow, according to a study published in the December issue of The American Journal of Sports Medicine. "An optimal grip size may influence the force with which a player hits the ball, but variations in grip size are unlikely to be contributing factors in overuse injuries such as tennis elbow," concludes George F. Hatch III, MD, currently of the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery, University of Southern California Keck School of Medicine, Los Angeles, and colleagues. (Dr. Hatch conducted the study while in training at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles.)

"Clinicians who treat patients with tennis elbow often tell them to try a different size grip in order to alleviate muscle fatigue," says Dr. Hatch. "Our study demonstrates that those recommendations have no scientific basis. Therefore, it is reasonable to recommend whatever grip size feels most comfortable for them."

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is the most common upper extremity complaint among recreational players, accounting for 75% to 85% of elbow injuries. Researchers believe it results from repetitive impacts between the ball and racket coupled with poor wrist stability especially during the backhand swing. The backhand stroke seems to be the culprit because it results in overexertion and micro-tearing within two primary muscles inside the forearm.

Hatch and coau
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