How to tell what is causing elbow pain - technique, racquet, or strings?


Hall of Fame
I'm a rapidly improving 17 year old junior player at a 4.0 NTRP level.
I'm 5'10 and right handed, with an almost completely flat Eastern two-handed backhand. This is my best groundstroke. My extreme eastern (occasionally weak semi-western) forehand is pretty average, and is worse than my backhand. I can slice fairly well off of both sides, especially my forehand, and I use this shot a decent amount. My biggest weapon, though, is a hard first serve that I can regularly break triple digits with. I try to play attacking tennis whenever possible.

Now that you know my playing style, on to my equipment.

I use a stock, uncustomized Yonex EZONE Ai 98, strung at 48/44 lbs with Wilson Revolve 16 in the mains and Gosen OG Sheep Micro in the crosses.

Lately I have been getting golfer's elbow, which has been bothering me on my topspin forehand in particular, and a little bit on my serve. The pain is about a 4/10 on the pain scale.

I have not had elbow pain until recently, within the past handful of weeks.

I don't know why it's showing up. I know that having a racquet that is light and stiff can cause elbow problems, but my racquet has a stiffness rating of 63 and a strung weight of 326 grams, meaning it's not very stiff at all, and not especially light.

I also know that a stiff stringbed can cause elbow problems. But Revolve is not particularly stiff for a poly, and OGSM isn't stiff either.

My technique isn't that weird, at least, not to my knowledge, so what gives?

Why the pain?


New User
I currently have tennis elbow but got to enjoy golfers elbow the past year plus. I feel that I got golfers elbow from doing finger tip pull ups which strained the stabilizers which were then broken down by catching hard hit balls late. If I were you I'd focus on your stroke, maybe even get something like a topspin pro, and just practice coming up and under the ball out in front of you with a more semi-western forehand. You are young enough where it doesn't matter how you play right now. You have plenty of time to worry about getting your strokes and swing correct for all the thousands of future matches you will be playing. Also don't play with polys if your arm hurts even a little bit.

Also the #1 rule for elbow issues is take a lighter grip. A stiff grip flexes the extensors/stabilizers which doesn't bode well to receiving shock.
Always look at the technique first.

Also, I'm surprised you have issues, Eastern forehands/Extreme eastern are extremely easy on the arm. (In my opinion, 30some years, never had any elbow issues)


Talk Tennis Guru
Switch to natural gut for a while to take the strings out of the equation.
Don't be cheap.
Take a break and start reinforcing your arm & upper body.
Take several lessons with the best coach available and ask him.
Then there's this in the customer feedback:
Comments: I bought this racquet (3 of them actually) and used them for 3 months. I liked the feel and control I got from it. But after about 3 months, I developed a bad case of tennis elbow and the weight (11.8 ounces strung with overgrip and dampner) became a factor. I was really surprised because this is supposed to be one of the arm friendly racquets. So I had to stop using this one. I am moving on to something a little light and really proven to be arm-friendly.
From: VS, 2/15
I'd say go to Kvitova's (Pro Staff 97), derived from Federer's.
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Hall of Fame
Looking at the racket’s specs I doubt that is the problem but I’d ditch the poly for now. Sliced forehands are pretty unusual other than for drop shots.
Practice forehand rallying with just three fingers gripping the racket to give you an idea of how lightly you can hold the racket and still get power by correct use of the ‘kinetic chain’ rather than generating power with the arm.


Hall of Fame
Strung my racquet with Volkl V-Torque Tour in the mains and OGSM in the crosses.
51/47 lbs. Felt a lot more cushy when I hit serves with it. Groundstrokes remain to be seen.


consult a doctor who is familiar with tennis related injuries. also doesn't have to be neither your equipment nor your technique. some people are genetically doomed to suffer more from stress put on their joints. diet can also further add to this.
but when it comes to knee/shoulder/elbow/wrist related issues, a specialist can really really save you alot of pain & agony, especially given that you're just 17 and this might also be a growth-related issue. before getting into tennis i was actually a football player; had to stop playing for a couple months due to growth-related pain in my knees when i was in the under16 squad of the #2 team in our country. was really pissed at that time for not being able to play and subsequently being dropped from the squad, but here i am a happy camper with no knee-related problems whatsoever since then.


Hall of Fame
Okay, so my elbow pain is mostly gone away now that I have restrung.
I think I should have gone for higher tension, though, this string is a lot more lively than I was expecting.....


Oh dear. I have a history of this in the family..... :eek:
that sucks. but i fell ya. my grandpa was constantly suffering from pain and inflammation in his knees, ankles and hannds. my dad had to undergo surgery because of a completely worn shoulder not to long ango.
I'm 29 now and during winter time I can't sit tight for more than half an hour without pain in my right knee. it is what it is... bought myself a treadmill 2 years ago for my working space. tend to do most of my work standing these days and try to walk the threadmill at least 60min per day during work. always gotta try and turn things around... at least my bodyfat is not an issue anymore.