Tennis Elbow
May 20, 2016

Tennis elbow is a type of inflammation that occurs in the elbow and surrounding areas of the arm. This condition has a variety of causes, and can affect people of any age, though it becomes more common the older you are.

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow generally refers to inflammation that results from an overuse of such areas of the body as the hand muscles, arm and forearm. Despite the fact that the overuse occurs in other areas of the body, the pain will originate in the elbow, as this is the direct point where the arm pivots. While this condition is referred to as tennis elbow, playing tennis isn’t the only way that you can be affected by it. It is, however, a common condition among people that regularly play tennis, especially professional players. This injury can be subtle or very abrupt, and begins when a tear occurs in the muscles and tendons of the forearm. It can occur in either arm, but usually affects the dominant arm.

Symptoms and Causes

The various symptoms of this injury are very easy to identify, which can help you get treatment quickly. These symptoms are typically gradual in occurrence. At the very onset of the condition, the pain you experience will be mild. Throughout the next few weeks, the pain will begin to worsen, especially in moments where you use those muscles too much. There are no exact injuries that cause tennis elbow, which is why it can take some time to identify that the pain is symptomatic of a condition like this. Standard symptoms include pain, burning and bad grip strength. When you perform activities like holding a tennis racket, turning a handle or shacking hands, the pain can worsen. If the pain doesn’t subside over the course of a few days, it’s clear that you’re suffering from tennis elbow.

When it comes to certain conditions like tennis elbow, there can be a wide range of causes that lead to the onset of this injury. Standard overuse is the most common cause, due to the weakening of what is known as the ECRB muscle. This muscle is necessary to stabilize arms when they are straightened. When the muscle becomes weak due to overuse, small tears will develop and cause such issues as inflammation and general pain. A lot of activities that call for the repeated use of the forearm will also lead to this condition, including playing tennis, painting, cooking and lifting weights. Plumbers and carpenters can also suffer from the condition. While tennis elbow can affect anyone, those around the ages of 30 to 55 are most likely to contract it.

Tennis Elbow Diagnosis

The diagnosis for this injury is very straightforward, as it’s actually quite easy to diagnose yourself. Your specific doctor will ask you a lot of questions to help in determining if this condition is what you’re suffering from. These questions cover everything from when the symptoms first started to what recreational activities you partake in. It’s important to tell your doctor if you’re suffered from nerve damage or Rheumatoid arthritis in the past. An exam will then be administered, which will require you to fully straighten your arm, so as to identify if the pain increases when you do. Other tests that can assists in ruling out additional problems include x-rays, an EMG or MRI. Once the diagnosis has been made, treatment can begin.

Treatments For This Condition

There are numerous treatments available for this condition. It’s relatively easy to treat, so the treatments available aren’t that invasive. Resting for a few weeks, and reducing the amount of use in that area can work wonders in lessening and eventually eliminating any pain or inflammation. If you play tennis, you might want to consider a smaller racket, or at least one with a better fit. Physical therapy that assists with strengthening those exact muscles in your arm can work really well, as can anti-inflammatory medications and steroidal injections. Having a brace placed directly at the rear of the forearm can reduce symptoms as well. If you make use of these treatments, your pain should eventually diminish completely.