Playing tennis, especially when proper technique is not used, can often cause tennis elbow.
The forearm, starting from the elbow, forearm to the wrists, has lots of muscles and tendons in such a small space to allow a wide range of movement.
The elbows carry the significant weight of the forearm and the object being carried during arm movements.
The elbow houses a hinge joint, several ligaments, tendons, and muscles, and so has little room for swelling.
Repetitive and forceful contraction of the upper arms can cause tiny tears in the tendons that attach to the outer part of the elbow, resulting in pain.
The muscles attached to the outer elbow can also sustain damage and cause discomfort.
The damaged tendons and muscles also tend to swell, pressing to the nerves causing pain and tenderness to the forearm.
However, other activities can also cause the condition, such as:
Loosening or tightening motions, as in fixing and installing plumbing
Driving or loosening screw, nuts or bolts
Cutting up meat or produce
4 Making a Diagnosis
Making a diagnosis of tennis elbow is done during physical exam.
You are likely to seek the services of a family doctor. If treatments fail to relieve symptoms, you might be referred to a sports medicine specialist or orthopedic surgeon.
You can do certain things to prepare yourself before the appointment.
Make a list describing your symptoms, when do symptoms appear or get worse, and history of recent injuries to the arm and elbows.
You must also list the medicines and supplements you take.
During the appointment, the doctor will discuss your medical history, like having rheumatoid arthritis or nerve disease, having occupations or tasks that require repetitive movements of the arm, or playing sports associated with risk of tennis elbow.
Several treatment methods exist for tennis elbow.
In many cases, rests alone can relieve pain caused by tennis elbow and may help improve it over time. You can also take over-the-counter pain medications to relieve pain.
If self-care measures fail to give your relief, the doctor may recommend the following treatments for tennis elbow:
Learning the proper form may enable you to continue sports or job tasks and prevent tennis elbow.
There is always a proper technique or form that enhances technique and prevent injuries to the arm. You can talk to experts to teach you.
Using an elbow brace or forearm strap may help reduce stress on the injured elbow.
The doctor may recommend certain exercises to strengthen the muscles of the forearm and make it more flexible.
Surgery may be needed if tennis elbow does not resolve in six to twelve months of conservative treatment.
Surgery for tennis elbow may involve lengthening, releasing, or decompression of involved muscles or tendons, or decompressing affected nerves.
Surgery on the elbow might be done through a large incision or several small incisions. After the surgery, you will have to do rehabilitation exercises as part of recovery.
6 Lifestyle and Coping
These lifestyle measures may help control pain caused by tennis elbow:
Resting the elbow and forearm by avoiding activities involving exertion of the arms
Applying ice pack on the affected part for 15 minutes, three to four times a day
Taking pain relievers like ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin B) or naproxen (Aleve)
Adopting proper technique or form in sports or work tasks
7 Risks and Complications
Risk factors for tennis elbow include:
Individuals age 30 to 50
Playing certain sports like tennis, racquetball, badminton, squash or other racket sports
Individuals in occupations such as plumbers, painters, cooks, butchers, and carpenters
Leaving tennis elbow untreated only makes pain progressively worse.
FindATopDoc is a trusted resource for patients to find the top doctors in their area. Be visible and accessible with your up to date contact
information, certified patients reviews and online appointment booking functionality.