What is Tennis Elbow ?

Lateral Epicondylitis is the scientific name for Tennis Elbow. This condition consists of chronic elbow pain on the outside of the arm right next to the forearm. People tend to believe that it is common among tennis players.it is scientifically proven that only 5% of these cases are linked to the sport of Tennis.
This condition is related to the muscles and tendons in your forearm. Since tendons are your connection to most muscles, it causes chronic elbow pain when your arm is used repetitively. There is a muscle called “extensor carpi radialisbrevis” (ECRB) that is located at the end of your elbow. This muscle will develop small tears. You will eventually notice you cannot grip objects and have pain throughout the forearm.

What leads to Tennis Elbow?

Theexcessive use of yourelbow and forearm during sport or with daily activity leads to tennis elbow. In Tennis the most popular movement to cause tennis elbow is hitting a backhand stroke or if you grip the racquet too tight or have poor technique.Tennis is a repetitive game so the more you play, or the bigger the strokes you take can cause the tendon to tear which puts you at a greater risk of tennis elbow.

Tennis elbow can also be caused by other racquet sports such as:

  • Racquetball
  • Squash
  • Badminton

Even a lot of physical activity from everyday jobs or housework, such as:

  • Tree Cutting
  • Painting
  • Carpentry
  • Musical Instrument playing
  • Lifting Weights

Tennis elbow is also acommon condition with butchers, cooks and assembly line workers. These types of jobs are repetitive and would benefit from elbow treatment.

Symptoms

Signs of tennis elbow are mostly an ache on the outside of the of the elbow when you commence an activity but your symptoms reduce slightly when your muscle warms up. If the condition is ignored the symptoms can be constant pain that is tender to touch and it will be difficult to grip objects.

Treatment

Physiotherapy is an effective short and long-term treatment method which includes joint mobilisation, remedial massage, electrotherapy, prescribing a tennis elbow brace, forearm stretches and strengthening exercises. In really stubborn cases, research has shown corticosteroid injections in combination with Physiotherapy are also an effective way to treat severe tennis elbow cases.

Prevention of Tennis Elbow

It is crucial to listen to your body and know when you should slow down during sports or while at work. Stretching and strengthening your forearms before sport or work will help prevent tennis elbow, and if you are an athlete, you may need to modify your technique to reduce the stress placed on your tendons. If your elbow is aggravated, then it’s advisable to wear a tennis elbow brace to prevent your condition from becoming worse. Two preventative tennis elbow stretches you could perform are shown in the video below:

Getting better

Tennis elbow can be difficult to treat because we use our hands repetitively on a daily basis to accomplish many tasks, however with rest, physiotherapy and avoiding aggravating activities non-severe tennis elbow cases should recover in 2-6 weeks.

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