Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a type of tendinitis which is a swelling of the tendons, a condition that causes pain in the arm and elbow. Tennis elbow is a result of overuse or repeated action of the forearm muscles, especially those near the elbow joint. Regardless of the name, one can still experience tennis elbow even though one has never played tennis. This is because tennis elbow can be initiated by repetitive gripping tasks, particularly activities that use the thumb and the first two fingers. Statistics show that tennis elbow is among the leading cause for people visit doctors for elbow pain. Tennis elbow can affect individuals of any age, but people above the age of 40 years are at high risk of suffering from tennis elbow. This article provides a detailed overview of tennis elbow regarding its causes, symptoms, treatment, and when you need to see a doctor, so continue reading.
Tennis elbow usually develops over time. It is caused by repetitive activities such as gripping a racket that can strain the forearm muscles and place too much stress on the tendons, especially during the swing part. The consistent tugging can lead to slight tears in the tissue. Playing games such as tennis, squash, fencing, weightlifting, and racquetball increase the chances of suffering from tennis elbow. Activities or hobbies such as typing, painting, knitting, and carpentry have been associated with tennis elbow. It is also good to note that the pain that occurs on the inner side of the elbow is referred to as a golfer’s elbow.
One of the main symptoms of tennis elbow is tenderness and pain in the bony knob, which is outside the elbow. The knob is the spot where the tendons link to the bone. There is also the possibility of the pain radiating to other parts of the arm, lower or upper arm. This makes your hand hurt when you attempt to do something with the affected hand. The pain is likely to travel down the forearm if you bend or lift the arm, grip small objects, twist the forearm, for example, when opening a jar.
The best thing with tennis elbow is that it heals on its own. All you need is to give the affected arm a break. There are a few types of treatments that can speed up the healing of tennis elbow, for example, icing to reduce swelling and reduce pain. You are recommended to ice the elbow for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days. You can also use an elbow strap to elevate the arm to prevent the injured tendon from strain further. You can also take NSAIDs, for example, ibuprofen or aspirin, to manage pain and swelling. Performing range of motion exercises is also an excellent way to minimize stiffness and promote flexibility. Doctors recommend doing range of motion exercises for 3-4 days a week. However, if the pain does not go away after few days, then it is time to seek help from an experienced doctor or orthopedic to check you. Those are few things we thought you need to know about tennis elbow.