Tennis Elbow

Nov 30, 2021

Definition, Causes, and Treatment for Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow, medically known as lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition due to using the elbow excessively. At times, it may include swelling of the arm. However, the name does not imply that sports enthusiasts, especially tennis players, only experience this problem. When an individual engages in tedious work such as carpentry, plumbing, and other jobs that feature motion, Tennis elbow will occur.

Additionally, any repetitive gripping activities, mostly when an individual needs to grip an object using the thumb and first two fingers, could cause Tennis Elbow, which in simple terms is a painful and tender feeling on the elbow. To find out more about the treatments offered at Reach Physiotherapy click here.

Causes

A few daily activities can be responsible for the Tennis Elbow, as long as they involve overusing the elbow. When this happens, you won’t be able to carry out certain activities due to the pain. Not forgetting to mention that repeated backhand stroke style of playing tennis can cause Tennis Elbow pain.

Other activities that may cause elbow pain may include:

  • Screw driving
  • Using the computer mouse repetitively
  • Painting works
  • Using plumbing tools
  • A few Kitchen chores such as meat cutting

Symptoms

The pain associated with the condition begins slowly and extends to a more painful experience. Pain can even become worse within a few weeks. In most cases, an individual may not have to be injured before noticing the pain. A few symptoms to watch out for include

  • Little or no strength to grip an object
  • Night pain in some cases
  • Burning sensation in the elbow

For forearm activities, these symptoms may worsen, especially if there’s a need to hold objects such as a racquet or turn a wrench.

Treatment

Some of the body pains we experience will heal on their own, and fortunately, Tennis Elbow is one of them. You should not need any surgery to treat Tennis Elbow pain. Giving the elbow a break or time to rest over a relatively long period will help to speed up the healing. Other treatment includes;

Icing

For pain and swelling reduction, icing can help drastically. Doing this for twenty to thirty minutes every three to four hours for two to three days can quickly help to remove pain and swelling.

Elbow strap

This helps in protecting the painful or injured part of the tendon from further strain

Exercise

Engaging in a variety of motion exercises can help in reducing stiffness in the elbow while providing more flexibility. As recommended by a doctor, there may be a need to exercise about three to five times within a day.

Physical Therapy

For muscle stretching and strengthening, physical therapy also helps to reduce the pain. A physiotherapist should map out an exercise plan fitting to your age, pain intensity, and other factors.

The use of Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

Using certain Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and other related ones can help in reducing pain and swelling in the elbow. And because other side effects are associated with taking these drugs regularly, it is best to take them occasionally, except when your physiotherapist recommends otherwise.

Prevention

Not overusing the elbow is the major key to preventing Tennis Elbow. But for those who do not have a choice, if you feel or notice any pain each time you engage in an activity, it is best to stop. Furthermore, using the wrong tools or equipment can cause pain. Therefore, it is best to use suitable tools or equipment with lesser weight. A few prevention tips for Tennis Elbow include

  • Before you begin at activity or task, stretching and warming up will help to exercise the elbow
  • If you feel any major discomfort after exercise, applying ice to the elbow will help prevent any likely pain

References

https://www.csp.org.uk/public-patient/rehabilitation-exercises/tennis-elbow

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tennis-elbow/symptoms-causes/syc-20351987

https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/tennis-elbow-lateral-epicondylitis

https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/tennis-elbow-lateral-epicondylitis/

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