tennis elbow

Tennis Elbow – causes, symptoms & treatment

Have you ever wondered how crucial the tendons are and what the difference would be if some of your tendons were damaged? So, tendons are the tissues that connect bones with muscles. Any anomaly with tendons can rob the person of their ability to perform simple or daily activities such as picking a cup of tea, etc. 

Rohit runs his restaurant in the city centre and works as a cook in the evening. His special dish on the restaurant’s menu gets him returning clients. Due to juggling two positions, he tends to overwork himself a lot. And this neglect of his work-life balance did start showing in his health.

He is constantly exhausted and has lately started experiencing this pain in his elbow region while he chops ingredients, stirs the food, or even plates the dishes. After overlooking the pain for a while, he finally decided to visit a doctor. After a physical examination, the doctor ran some tests and told him that Rohit had a tennis elbow in his right elbow. His physician prescribed some NSAIDs and suggested some stretches and exercise.  

tennis elbow

Rohit took some time off from work to implement his doc’s advice and reverse the condition’s symptoms. 

Let’s delve deep into this medical condition and present available methods to mollify Tennis Elbow.

So, what is a tennis elbow? 

Tennis elbow, medically also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a painful inflammation of the elbow joint caused by overuse. The discomfort occurs outside the elbow but can also move to the back of the forearm. When the arm is straight or fully extended, you should feel pain.

Tennis elbow can affect anyone, not just athletes or tennis players. Repeated arm movements weaken the arm muscles and damage

the tendons that connect them to the bone. Tennis elbow can cause pain when bending or extending the arm, holding or lifting objects, or performing any above movements. The majority of patients get relief without surgery. 

Tennis elbow affects 50% of tennis players, while this 50% is only 5% of the total number of people suffering from this condition. And the rest, 95%, are nowhere related to tennis. Hopefully, the myth that this condition is limited to tennis players is busted. 

tennis elbow

What causes tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is a disease of muscle strain and overuse. The problem is the repeated contraction of the forearm muscles to extend and raise the hand and wrist. Repetitive motion and tissue stress can cause a series of small tears in the tendon that connects the powers of the forearm to the bony prominence on the outside of the elbow.

One of the top known causes of the condition is the repeated use of the poor technique of backhand stroke in tennis. Any activity triggers it that can shock the tendons. 

The following activities may trigger the pain:

  • Any sport that includes racquet 

  •  regularly hammering or screwing things 

  • golfing 

  • using chainsaw often

  • or any manual action needing to lift much weight with high levels of wrist activity

What are the most common symptoms of tennis elbow?

This condition can easily be diagnosed by Physical examination, X-ray, and MRI scans. But other than that, the following symptoms are also considered signs of discomfort.

  • Ache on the outside of the upper forearm, right below the elbow bend

  • pain in arm extensions

  • loose grip

  • stiffness in elbow

  • swollen elbows

Treatment for tennis elbow 

Tennis elbow may improve over time, but it may take up to 18 to 20 months. You can accelerate its recovery by adding these nonsurgical techniques to your daily routine.

  • Rest: Turning back to the leading cause of the pain, which is a tear in the tendon. It is very important for the tendon to repair and heal; the necessary element is rest. 

  • Cold compression: It is something your doctor may suggest you use, that is, a compression pad, as this can provide instant relief from pain and inflammation. This also acts as a support for the elbow.

  • NSAIDs: NSAIDs are available as pills or creams and gels , administered directly to the painful part of your body. PainKillers such as ibuprofen and paracetamol may help alleviate the minor pain and inflammation produced by the tennis elbow. Topical NSAIDs are frequently prescribed for musculoskeletal problems such as tennis elbow. This is due to their ability to relieve inflammation and discomfort without creating adverse effects such as nausea.

  • Physical Therapy: it’s essential to strengthen the arm’s muscles and tendons to prevent and recover from any tear or damage. So strength training exercises and stretches to make the muscles flexible are crucial for recovery. 

  • Minimally invasive tenotomy is a procedure to remove degenerative tendon tissue inside your tendon; your doctor may conduct a minimally invasive treatment. TenJet is a treatment that combines a needle device and high-pressure saline to induce suction and hydro-resect degenerative tendon tissue. This might be an alternative to a more invasive surgical technique.

If the pain does not get better with the nonsurgical methods, then your doctor may do a surgical procedure that generally has a high success rate of 80-90 %. But this is rare. Usually, people do improve with nonsurgical methods.

A tennis elbow can be prevented by taking the proper measures at the apt time. Try to use the proper techniques while playing. Before participating in a sport that requires repetitive arm motions, warm up correctly and gently stretch your arm muscles. Use light instruments or racquets with larger grips to prevent additional pressure on your tendons.

Written By

Kanak Tiwari

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