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Lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow can be a painful, frustrating, and debilitating condition. If you are an avid tennis player, there is a strong chance you will have to deal with tennis elbow at some point in your playing career. Most estimates claim that nearly 50 percent of serious tennis players will suffer from tennis elbow at some point while playing.
While some strength exercises and stretches you can reduce your chances of developing tennis elbow, one of the best things you can do is play with a different tennis racquet.
Certain tennis rackets are easier on your forearm muscles, as well as the delicate tendons that join your forearms and wrists to the outsides of your elbows. Using a different racket can decrease the severity of overuse injuries, like tennis elbow.
Whether you currently suffer from tennis elbow and are searching for a more appropriate tennis racquet, or you are looking for ways to reduce your chances of developing tennis elbow in the future, we can help!
Not only will we explain what a tennis elbow-friendly racquet is, but we will also go over some of the best options on the market today!
What is a Tennis Elbow-Friendly Racquet?
Before we list the best tennis racquets for tennis elbow, we will take a quick look at some of the characteristics that make a tennis racquet a good option for those with tennis elbow concerns.
One of the characteristics that make a tennis racket better for tennis elbow is the racket’s flexibility. Tennis rackets are categorized according to their stiffness level which is measured by an RA rating. It is fairly simple to find a flexible tennis racket.
Ideally, you should choose a tennis racket with an RA rating of less than 66. These rackets are very flexible, which means they are better for reducing tennis elbow symptoms.
Tennis Racquet Weight
While it might seem counterintuitive, don’t immediately seek out the lightest tennis racquet you can find. You will need a racquet with enough weight to absorb some of the shock and vibration that occurs when the strings make contact with a tennis ball.
With that said, you do not want to go too heavy, as the added weight of the racquet can put excess stress on your arm and wrist. Tennis racquets that are the best for tennis elbow are usually heavy enough to reduce unnecessary vibrations, but not so heavy that the forearm muscles become strained when you play.
Tennis racquets are available in a variety of grip sizes. This measurement refers to the circumference of the tennis racquet’s handle. Unnecessary wrist and forearm strain can lead to the tendon inflammation that is responsible for the tennis elbow, it is incredibly important that you choose a racquet that has the appropriate grip size for your hands.
If you are interested in preventing or reducing pain caused by tennis elbow, you will want to measure your tennis racquet grip size and choose a tennis racquet available in that size.
To learn how to properly measure for your grip size, check out this post.
The Best Tennis Racquets for Tennis Elbow
Now that you understand some of the factors that make a tennis racquet better for preventing tennis elbow, we can go over some of the best options on the market today
#1 Wilson – Clash 100 Tennis Racquet
For plenty of good reasons, Wilson is one of the most well-known brands in tennis. Whether you are a beginner or an advanced tennis player, Wilson offers high-quality tennis apparel and equipment that will meet your budget and skill level.
Its Clash 100 tennis racquet is an excellent option for those who have concerns about tennis elbow. The thick but flexible beam and comfortable weight makes the racquet feel ‘easy’ on the user’s arm, but still offers plenty of control and stability.
What made this tennis racquet stand out to us is Wilson’s unique FreeFlex technology. This technology allows the frame to bend and flex in unique ways. Not only is the FreeFlex technology helpful for ball control, but it also helps absorb some of the energy and vibrations that would otherwise transfer to the player’s arm. Transferring those vibrations is what makes this a great racket for those with tennis elbow concerns.
Wilson’s StableSmart technology also helps improve stability when the user makes contact with the ball. Again, this is useful for improving control and reducing strain on the delicate tendons in the user’s arm.
With an RA rating of just 55, a total unstrung weight of just 295 grams, and your choice of grip size, this is the perfect tennis racquet for anyone who has tennis elbow concerns.
#2 HEAD – Graphene 360+ Extreme S Tennis Racquet
The Graphene 360+ Extreme S is one of the lightest tennis racquets in HEAD’s highly popular Extreme line.
With a total strung weight of just 289 grams, it is an excellent option for tennis players looking to avoid unnecessary arm strain.
The racquet features an open 16/19 string pattern and HEAD’s 360 Spin Grommets, allowing for more string movement when you make contact with the ball.
Not only does this allow you to transfer plenty of power and spin to the ball, but it also helps to dampen vibrations that would otherwise travel down the handle of the racquet and into your arm.
The 360+ Extreme S also features a 105 square inch head, which allows you to make clean and powerful contact with the ball. The racquet is also really well balanced, which allows for a more comfortable hold and far less arm strain than you would expect from a larger racquet.
While the RA rating of 66 is higher than some other racquets, the lightweight design and stability mean it is still a great racquet for anyone worried about aggravating their tennis elbow pain.
Overall, this is a great option for intermediate players that prefer to play with a larger racquet, but still want a racquet that will not increase their tennis elbow symptoms.
#3 Prince – Phantom 100G LongBody Tennis Racquet
The Phantom 100G is an upgraded, lightweight version of Prince’s popular Pro 100. This arm friendly tennis racquet features a thicker and more powerful beam but maintains the outstanding playability of its predecessor. It is an ideal racquet for intermediate players, but its impressive levels of comfort and control make it suitable for even the most advanced players.
Many tennis players are drawn to this racquet for performance reasons. Those with concerns about tennis elbow and other overuse injuries will be happy to learn that Prince designed this racquet with its unique Anti-Torque System, which features TeXtreme and Twaron materials in the shaft and upper hoop.
These materials help reduce frame torque when the strings meet the tennis ball. Therefore more power is transferred to the ball, and the player enjoys increased stability. Essentially, the player will experience less of the swing in their forearms, which helps reduce the inflammation that might otherwise make their tennis elbow worse.
At a total unstrung weight of 305 grams and with an RA rating of 58, the Phantom 100G is one of the more flexible and tennis elbow-friendly racquets you can find. Not only is it a great option for those who suffer from tennis elbow, but it is also a high-performance racquet that offers plenty of stability and allows users to hit tennis balls with accuracy and power.
#4 HEAD – MicroGEL Radical Midplus Pre-Strung Tennis Racquet
The HEAD MicroGEL Radical is the most budget friendly tennis racquet on our list. Since tennis elbow can be an issue for tennis players of all skill levels, we thought it was only fair to add a tennis racket that is a reasonable choice for beginners and tennis elbow sufferers who want an affordable, pre-strung racquet that they can play around with.
Despite its affordable price, the MicroGEL Radical offers some impressive levels of performance. The graphite composition helps absorb and distribute energy upon impact. When using this racket, you’ll experience less arm strain and maintain a high level of control over the ball.
There is some noticeable flex in the frame which explains the comfortable feel players experience. Racket flexibility is a key characteristic needed for players with tennis elbow concerns.
While there are more powerful rackets on the market, the impressive level of control and the relatively low total weight of 312 grams means this is an outstanding tennis racket for beginner to intermediate players who are looking for an arm-friendly option that is also affordable.
How Can You Prevent Tennis Elbow?
Aside from buying the right racket, right??
When it comes to tennis elbow, prevention is much better than any of the available cures, which is why it is so important to choose the right tennis racquet.
Buy a racket that is the right weight for you. It must be light enough to reduce arm and wrist strain while still heavy enough to absorb some of the kinetic energy that would otherwise travel through your wrist and forearm. As mentioned above, flexibility is also important. Choose a racket with a low stiffness rating so it works with your body rather than against it.
Once you have chosen the correct tennis racquet and selected a grip size right for your hands, focusing on form should be your next concern. Using the correct form while hitting will help reduce the strain you experience in your arms and elbows. Poor technique, frequent mis-hits, and holding the racquet improperly all increase the symptoms of tennis elbow.
It is also important to know when to take breaks. Don’t overuse the forearm muscles and tendons as this is the root cause of tennis elbow. If you feel pain anywhere in your arm, it might be smart to take a few days away from the court so your tendons and muscles can rest.
There are also plenty of good exercises and stretches you can do to prevent tennis elbow from occurring in the first place.
The best tennis racket for tennis elbow is one that is arm-friendly. Even if you have never experienced tennis elbow before, preventing it from occurring is one of the best things you can do to extend the longevity of your tennis playing career. If you already suffer from tennis elbow, an arm-friendly racket will allow you to spend more time on the court and less time spent worrying about arm and elbow pain.
Each of the racquets we highlighted above would make an excellent choice. Just be sure to choose the right size for your body and hand!
For reviews on tennis rackets that aren’t specifically about tennis elbow, check out this post.