Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition of the elbow a result of overuse. Unsurprisingly, playing tennis and other racquet sports can result in this problem. But many other sports and activities may also place you at risk. The majority of people who get tennis elbow are between 30 and 50 years of age. Tennis elbow is inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow. The forearm muscles and tendons become damaged from overuse – repeating the exact same motions repeatedly. This results in pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow.
Anatomy of the elbow
Lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow, involves the muscles and tendons of one’s forearm. Your forearm muscles extend your wrist and fingers. Your forearm tendons, known as extensors, attach the muscles to bone. They attach over the lateral epicondyle. The tendon usually associated with tennis elbow is termed the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB).
Cause of tennis elbow
• Overuse – In the event the ECRB is weakened from overuse, microscopic tears form along the tendon where it attaches on the lateral epicondyle. This results in inflammation and pain. The ECRB can also be at increased risk for damage due to its position. As the elbow bends and straightens, the muscle rubs against bony bumps. This tends to wear out the muscle eventually.
• Activities – Athletes are not the only individuals who get tennis elbow. Lots of people with tennis elbow engage in work or recreational activities that demand repetitive and vigorous use of the forearm muscle. Painters, plumbers, and carpenters are particularly susceptible to developing tennis elbow. Research indicates that auto-workers, cooks, as well as butchers get tennis elbow more frequently than the remainder of the population. It is believed that the repetition and weight lifting needed in these occupations causes injury.
Symptoms of tennis elbow
The signs and symptoms of tennis elbow develop gradually. Typically, the pain begins as mild and slowly worsens over weeks and months. There is usually no specific injury linked to the beginning of symptoms. Common indications of tennis elbow include:
• Burning sensation or pain over the outer portion of your elbow
• Weak grip strength
• The symptoms are frequently worsened with forearm activity, for instance holding a racquet, turning a wrench, or shaking hands. Your dominant arm is more than often affected; however both of your arms may be affected.
Approximately 80% to 95% of patients have success with nonsurgical treatment. The following treatment options include:
• Rest. The initial step toward recovery would be to provide your arm with proper rest. Consequently, you’ll need to stop involvement in sports or heavy work activities for a few weeks.
• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines. Drugs like voltaren can reduce pain and swelling.
• Physical therapy. Specific exercises are useful for strengthening the muscles of the forearm. Your chiropractor could also perform ultrasound, muscle-stimulating methods or cross-friction to improve muscle healing.
• Brace. Utilizing a brace centered across the back of the forearm may also be helpful in relieving the symptoms of tennis elbow. This will reduce symptoms by resting the muscles and tendons.
• Steroid injections. If manual therapy fails, steroids which include cortisone, are effective anti-inflammatory medicines which can be used to inject your damaged muscle to alleviate your symptoms.