What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a painful inflammation that usually occurs when tendons in your arms are overloaded. In simple words, this condition happens due to overuse of the wrist and arm.
Tennis elbow is not only related to tennis. It can occur in tennis players if they hold or grip their tennis racket tightly. Apart from athletes or sports persons, it can affect other people too—for example, plumbers, carpenters, butchers, and painters. Tennis elbow occurs in all age groups; it is more likely to occur in adults of age between 30-50 years.
What Are the Symptoms of Tennis Elbow?
Pain related to tennis elbow may radiate from outside of the elbow into your forearm and wrist.
You may develop the following symptoms, related to tennis elbow:
- You may feel pain while holding a coffee cup
- You experience pain when you lift, move, or use something such as heavy objects and tools.
- Shake hands or grip an object
- Turn a doorknob
What Are the Causes of the Tennis Elbow?
It is caused by continuous or repeated contraction of the forearm muscles that is used to raise and straighten your hand and wrist. Continuous or repeated motions and stress to the tissue can cause a series of tiny tears in the tendons attaching to the bony prominence of the elbow.
If tennis elbow is left untreated, then it may lead to chronic pain in your elbow. This may cause strain and become a more chronic and debilitating injury. Activities which include repetitive moving and twisting of the wrist are responsible for tennis elbow, example:
- Playing Tennis
- Weight lifting
- Turning a key
- Frequently using screwdrivers and hammers
When to see a doctor?
When various self-care tips such as rest, applying ice, and splints do not work, then it is recommended to see doctor. Doctor will diagnose the problem and proceed with treatment.
How Can You Treat Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow usually gets better on its own. But if medicines and pain killers are not working and the problem gets critical, it might need doctor’s advice. After diagnosing, Doctor will provide you with appropriate treatment according to severity of the condition.
Doctor will try to reduce strain in your arms by providing you with some therapies. Doctor will also recommend you to take advice from an expert for correct gripping and playing techniques, if symptoms are related to any sports.
Physical Therapy: physical therapists will suggest you some warm-up exercises to treat tennis elbow. These may include ice massages, arm exercises, and muscle stimulating techniques.
Shockwave Therapy: This therapy is not usually used. However, in this therapy, shockwaves are delivered to the elbow so that the body can start its healing process.
Ultrasound Therapy: In this therapy, an ultrasound probe will be placed over the painful area on your arm. The probe will release high-frequency sound waves to reduce inflammation and increase speed of recovery.
Your doctor may suggest injecting platelet-rich plasma, Botox, or some form of an anti-inflammatory into the tendon to reduce pain.
Steroid Injection: To reduce inflammation, your doctor may decide to inject corticosteroid medication directly into the affected tendon.
Platelet-rich Plasma Injection: This treatment is quite promising. Currently, this treatment is not covered by any insurance companies.
When non operative means do not give adquate, then surgery remains the way that can cure tennis elbow.
Surgery is performed to remove the dead tissue and to reattach a healthy muscle onto the bone. In order to perform surgery, a small scope is inserted into the elbow by making an incision just over it. After completing surgery, the doctor may restrict you to move your arm for better muscle strength and flexibility.
90% of times, tennis elbow is successfully treated conservatively. However, surgery is performed by an orthopedic surgeon when conservative means jaw.
What Can You Do for Post-treatment Care?
The most important way is to stop the overuse of your wrists and arms when you feel pain during any activity. However, following are ways that you need to take care after treatment to prevent recurrence of tennis elbow.
- Rest: Doctor will suggest you rest and advise to stop doing particular work when you feel pain.
- Ice: It is necessary to apply ice on the elbow for at least 15-20 minutes, 3-4 times a day.
- Stretching: Stretch and warm-ups before playing any sports.
- Use the right techniques and equipment: If you are a sports player, then play by using right techniques and equipment. Ask your trainer to guide you with better skills.
- Avoid repetitive tasks: You should avoid repetitive tasks if you are experiencing pain in your arms.
- Take breaks: It is necessary to take breaks.
- Use tennis elbow strap: Consider trying a tennis elbow strap because it will reduce stress on your elbow while playing.
If you follow these post-treatment care and prevention tips to avoid strain, you can lower your chances of getting tennis elbow.
When you are suffering from tennis elbow, Pain may develop gradually in your elbow and wrist. Therefore, it is better to take precautions to prevent it. However, it is not difficult to prevent it; but if it is not treated early, you may need to go through a surgical procedure to treat a tennis elbow. That presents late if you seek treatment in easily stages, Medical management is efficient.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What are Tendons?
The part of the muscle that attaches to bones is called tendons. Forearm tendons attaching to the lateral bone of the elbow are injured in case of tennis elbow.
Which Muscle Results in Developing Tennis Elbow?
When the ECRB (Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis) muscle is damaged, then it is responsible for developing tennis elbow. Purpose of the ECRB muscle is vital as it helps to more the wrist.
Who is affected by Tennis Elbow?
Around 1% – 4% of the population is affected by tennis elbow, 10%-40% of sports players are affected by it during their sporting career. Tennis elbow is not related to tennis game. However, 5% of tennis players suffer from tennis elbow. Tennis elbow affects men more than women.
How Can You Diagnose Tennis Elbow?
Unlike other injuries, tennis elbow cannot be diagnosed by performing X-ray and blood tests. It can only be diagnosed with the help of the description of your pain during the physical exam. To diagnose tennis elbow, the doctor will apply some pressure to your arms and wrists, and they will try to move your fingers, arms, and wrists in several ways.
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