To answer your question right off the bat, yes, tennis vibration dampeners can help with tennis elbow.
If you’re not familiar, tennis elbow is when your elbow tendons are inflamed and painful. Usually this inflammation and pain is caused by strain or over use.
It’s named ‘tennis elbow’ because it’s often related to playing tennis, at least when it’s in this region of your arm.
Tennis vibration dampeners can make an impact with every hit you make as they minimize vibration that usually goes through the racket and up your arm.
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is the inflammation of tendons around the elbow caused by damage.
This damage can be brought on by rapid and constant vibrations. These constant vibrations could be symptomatic of a stressful work environment in a labor career (carpenters), but usually persists in tennis players (hence the name).
Tennis elbow can impair your ability to do the simplest of tasks, such as turning a doorknob or holding a cup of coffee.
There are numerous risk factors that you need to be aware of.
- Age: The older you are, the more likely you are to develop this issue through tennis and other activities. Your tendons undergo stress and damage as you age and perform work-related tasks.
- Playing Tennis: There’s a lot of dynamic movement coming out of your elbow and arm and a lot of the stress ends up in your elbow.
- Occupations: Carpenters, butchers, cooks, even people who type all day can end up with tennis elbow. We’re seeing a rise in computer-related occupations and subsequently seeing a rise in tennis elbow cases each year.
From a scientific perspective there is not enough hard data to guarantee that using a dampener will prevent symptoms of tennis elbow.
Dampeners do in fact absorb vibrations much like what shocks do in a car. However, the information about those specific vibrations being the root cause of tennis elbow is unconfirmed.
Some people like using dampeners for how it makes the racket feel and others feel more in tune with the ball when they feel all the vibration.
The only thing for certain is that tennis players often get tennis elbow, though it can be through a variety of other means and stress.
What is a Tennis Racket Vibration Dampener?
To better understand what they are, let’s describe them.
They’re clips that attach to the string pattern of your racket, usually near the handle, and sometimes in the corner of smaller grid squares higher up.
When the ball hits your racket, kinetic energy is in play.
Since the strings are tight, there’s nowhere for that vibration to go other than through the strings.
Where do the strings lead?
To the handle – and your hand – and wrist – and elbow. It’s going to rattle through you. Over time, all those vibrations may cause issues that lead to tennis elbow.
Dampeners help alleviate a lot of vibration and usually offer the most overall satisfaction from the user.
What a Vibration Dampener Won't Do for You
While there is belief that vibration dampeners will help against tennis elbow, they will not magically improve your game.
Vibration dampeners aren’t absolutely critical pieces of equipment, but individual preference determines whether they make you feel more comfortable as you strike the ball.
If a little shock absorption is desired, give one of these dampeners a try. Heck even a rubber band can reduce some vibration!
Types of Vibration Dampeners
Just as you’d expect, these small button-style dampeners rest on your racket in between the strings.
You can use a button dampener toward the bottom (near the handle) in the middle or more by adding them to the corners. Yup – it’s about personal preference.
You do want to position these close to the handle to prevent incoming vibrations from traveling down through the handle and into your hand, wrist and elbow.
Worm style dampeners are longer clips that stretch over a bigger section of the string grid.
They sit on either side of the strings and are usually used in a pair for balance.
These usually do not rest right above the handle unless you get what’s referred to as a stubby worm dampener.
How to Install Vibration Dampeners
Depending on the type you have, vibration dampeners can be easy to install or quite a pain in the neck. It’s about getting them onto the strings in the position that you feel is best.
Smaller clips tend to be less complicated, but some of the other varieties may require a more patient touch.
Here’s a great explanation for how to do install whichever dampener you have.
Do Tennis Vibration Dampeners Work?
It’s up for debate.
You’re going to find plenty of tennis players who say that these don’t matter, but others will say they couldn’t imagine using a tennis racket without one.
They’re a popular accessory for many players.
After examining just what these do, there are a few reasons for the divide in the tennis community surrounding it.
If you prefer your strings at a higher tension, you may feel that you get more bang for your buck out of a vibration dampening device.
The higher the tension, the less give the strings have and the more likely you are to feel those vibrations in your hands. A dampener can have an impact.
If you hit the ball with a lot of pace, a dampener might be felt more as you wallop the ball.
The more force you apply, the harder the ball is going to hit the strings. Just think of it this way: the harder you play, the more likely you’ll feel a difference of a dampener’s presence.
There are some people who just don’t feel a difference and that’s okay too. Do what works for you.
Do I Need a Vibration Dampener?
It’s up to you, but if it might help you avoid tennis elbow in the future, it’s at least something to try.
If you’re a younger athlete you should work at all costs to preserve your muscles and tendons.
Apart from that, there’s just preference at play.
Dampeners change how your hand feels when the ball hits the racket and for some, it gives them better control over how they place their shots.
To each their own as long as it helps you out.