Tennis Elbow: An Overview
Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a type of tendinitis (swelling of the tendons), causing pain in the elbow and arm. Tendons are the bands of tough tissues that connect lower arm muscles to the bone. Tennis elbow usually happens among tennis players and other athletes involved in the repetitive movements of the elbow and arm. But, despite its name, you can still suffer from tennis elbow even if you have never played tennis. Tennis elbow can occur in people of all ages, but it is most common among people aged 40 or above.
Main Causes Of Tennis Elbow
As the name suggests, playing tennis, especially repetitive motion of the backhand stroke with poor techniques, is the leading cause of the tennis elbow. As well as this, many other sports involvingthe repeated motion of elbow and arms can cause tennis elbow. These sports may include racquetball, squash, weightlifting, and more. Besides this, some professions or hobbies that require repetitive movements of arms and elbows can also cause tennis elbow. These factors may include typing, carpentry, painting, knitting, and more.
Symptoms Of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is symptomized in different categories. If you experience any of the following symptoms, you may have developed tennis elbow:
Pain: Pain is one of the primary symptoms of the tennis elbow that may travel from the lower arm to the wrist. The pain may worsen while gripping objects, shaking hands, or lifting something.
Burning Sensation:You may also feel a burning sensation around your elbow or lower arm. This sensation may worsen at night.
Stiffness: You may also feel stiffness while extending your arm or elbow.
Swollen Elbow Joints:You may also feel swelling or inflammation around the elbow joints or muscles.
Weakened Grip:People who suffer from tennis elbow may also feel weakness when holding items like a wrench, racquet, pen, or someone’s hand.
How To Diagnose Tennis Elbow?
Whenever you feel any symptoms (mentioned above), you need to stop playing to control the damage and consult your GP to diagnose the symptoms. A tennis elbow can be diagnosed in the following ways:
Physical Checkup: During a physical checkup, your healthcare provider press the injured or damaged areas to know the extent of pain. He may also move your elbow or arm in several directions to determine the range of motion. Mild-to-moderate symptoms can easily be diagnosed by a physical checkup, helping your GP to create an effective treatment plan for you.
Imaging Tests:Some severe conditions cannot be diagnosed through a physical checkup. To know the extent or severity of the damage, your GP or healthcare provider may suggest some imagining tests including, X-rays and MRIs, helping determine the injury more accurately.
Treatments of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow can be treated in both ways, i.e. non-surgical and surgical treatments:
The following non-surgical treatments are considered best to reduce mild-to-moderate symptoms of tennis elbow:
Rest: When you play continuously without treating the symptoms, the pain may worsen over time. That’s why it is advisable to take plenty of rest to control the damage or injury.
Ice Massage:You need to apply ice massage for 10 – 15 minutes several times a day which helps reduce swelling and inflammation around the injured areas.
Tapping The Forearm:Tapping the forearm helps realign muscle fibres and relieve pressure on the injured areas. Your GP may suggest wearing a splint for two to three weeks to take the elbow joint out of action.
Nonsteroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs):NSAIDs help reduce pain and inflammation in the injured areas.
Physical Therapy:Physical therapy is considered the best way to strengthen forearm muscles and grip. Physical therapy is also the best technique to improve function and range of motion.
Steroid Injections:Steroid injections temporarily relieve inflammation and joint pain. These injections must be injected in the right place. This is why many healthcare providers inject steroidal injections under ultrasound guidance.
Usually, two surgical treatments, i.e. elbow arthroscopy and open surgery, are performed to get the elbow back to the normal position:
Open Surgery:During open surgery, the surgeon makes a cut above the bone on the side of the elbow. He removes the damaged pieces of the tendon and reattaches the healthy part back to the bone.
Elbow Arthroscopy:In arthroscopic surgery, two cuts are made: one on the inner side of the elbow and the other on the outer side. Your surgeon removes all the torn-off tissues by using an arthroscope.
Tennis Elbow Supports
Elbow braces are considered the tools to support or protect your elbows during sports or other intense exercises. Elbow supports for lateral epicondylitiswork in a variety of ways, including;
They Provide Support And Stability:Elbow supports provide an extra layer of support and protection, helping you perform well during sports and other workout activities.
They Control Injury: Elbow supports help slightly immobilize your elbow joint, helping control further damage or injury.
They Promote Healing: Elbow supports provide needed compressions and improve blood flow, helping speed up the recovery following an elbow injury or surgery.
How To Prevent Tennis Elbow
Healthcare providers or professional trainers suggest some preventive measures, helping reduce the chances of tennis elbow or other elbow-related injuries on the playing court. These preventive measures include;
Body Warm Up: Ensure that your body is fully warmed-up before entering the tennis court. You also need to cool down your body after ending every session.
Stretching Exercises: Regular stretching exercises or physical therapies help keep your elbows flexible and stretchable, preventing overuse injuries or repetitive stress.
Proper Techniques: Take the time to learn the proper backhand stroke or other techniques to avoid injury risks.
Use Lightweight Tools: Lightweight sports equipment or racquets with a large grip helps reduce the tendons’ strain.
Wear Protective Gears:When necessary, you need to wear protective gears including, elbow supports, arm braces, and more.
The chances of tennis elbow are possible during playing. But, some effective preventive measures help reduce the chances of injuries. Wearing elbow supports is the primary tip to avoid or control the damages. You need to know the correct size and the right type of elbow supports. At 360 relief, you can find a variety of elbow supports, with a range of colours and sizes, to help manage your elbow pain or injury.