Transfer of tennis racket vibrations onto the human forearm

Med Sci Sports Exerc. 1992 Oct;24(10):1134-40.


One of several factors suspected in the development of lateral epicondylitis, often referred to as tennis elbow, is the impact-induced vibration of the racket-and-arm system at ball contact. Using two miniature accelerometers at the wrist and the elbow of 24 tennis players, the effects of 23 different tennis racket constructions were evaluated in a simulated backhand stroke situation. The influences of body weight, skill level, and tennis racket construction onto the magnitude of vibrations at wrist and elbow were investigated. Amplitudes, integrals, and fourier components were used to characterize arm vibration. More than fourfold reductions in acceleration amplitude and integral were found between wrist and elbow. Off-center as compared with center ball impacts resulted in approximately three times increased acceleration values. Between subjects, body weight as well as skill level were found to influence arm vibration. Compared with proficient players, a group of less skilled subjects demonstrated increased vibration loads on the arm. Between different racket constructions, almost threefold differences in acceleration values could be observed. Increased racket head size as well as a higher resonance frequency of the racket were found to reduce arm vibration. The vibration at the arm after ball impact showed a strong inverse relationship (r = -0.88) with the resonance frequency of tennis rackets.

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Adult
  • Equipment Design
  • Female
  • Forearm / physiology
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Tennis Elbow / etiology
  • Tennis*
  • Vibration*