Tennis elbow is a common and painful niggle in many sports that involve repetitive movements of the forearm and wrist. Here is a kinesiology taping technique which some manufacturers claim can help relieve the pain.
- 5cm Kinesiology Tape
- Good Scissors
- 2.5cm Kinesiology Tape (optional)
- 2.5cm Zinc Oxide Tape (optional)
This technique involves applying kinesiology tape to your forearm and wrist. If you want the tape to stay stuck, you’ll have to trim back or shave the affected forearm if it is hairy. You should also clean the skin thoroughly as any dirt or sweat will interfere with the adhesive.
It’s not possible to apply this technique to yourself, so you will need someone’s help. We’ll give the rest of these instructions from the perspective of the person applying the tape. As usual, it’s a good idea to read all the instructions through before starting.
Step 1: Have the patient sit on a chair and raise the affected arm out to one side with the elbow straight. Have them flex their wrist so their fingertips are pointing down towards the floor. See picture:
Step 2: Cut a strip of 5cm-wide kinesiology tape long enough to reach from the back of the patient’s hand to their elbow. As always, round off the ends of the tape with scissors. Apply the tape with no stretch. Start on the back of the hand and run it up the arm to finish just below the elbow on the lateral side (ie the same side of the arm as the thumb), as pictured:
Step 3: Cut another strip of 5cm kinesiology tape about half the length of the first one. Again, apply this tape with no stretch. Start at about the same point where the first one ended and bring it down the inside of the arm at an angle, to finish on the medial side (the same side of the arm as the little finger) about halfway down the forearm. See picture:
Here’s step 3 from another angle to show where the tape should finish:
Step 4: This is an optional step to add some wrist stabilisation. Cut a short length of 5cm kinesiology tape and stretch it by pulling it from either end. Apply the centre of the tape to the back wrist and wrap each side around the wrist under tension. Then release the tension before sticking down the final few centimetres of each end. The ends do not need to meet, this tape is not intended to fully encircle the wrist.
Here’s step 4 showing the back of the wrist:
And here is step 4 showing the inside of the wrist:
Step 5: This is a variation on the technique, which replaces step 3. Use this if a more aggressive technique is required to directly address acute pain from tennis elbow. Cut a strip of 2.5cm kinesiology tape (or split a strip of 5cm tape down the middle) and use it to encircle the forearm, just below the elbow, directly over where the pain is focused. Apply this tape with stretch, while pressing it into the tissue. As usual, stick down the very ends of the tape without tension. This step is basically to mimic the effect of wearing a tennis elbow strap. See picture:
Step 6: For an even more aggressive intervention, strap around the forearm with 2.5cm zinc oxide tape instead of 2.5cm kinesiology tape. Because zinc oxide tape does not have any ‘give’ don’t apply this too tightly. See picture:
Step 7: That’s it!
Tip: If you don’t want to use tape, tennis elbow (aka lateral epicondylitis) can be treated with a specialist tennis elbow brace or strap. We sell a very good one here.