Does your elbow hurt even at the slightest pressure or jerk? Has it become more often and none of the ointments is doing any good? Then you might have Tennis Elbow and you must take it seriously.
Considering its name, if you are thinking that it is some condition only related to the elbow of those who play tennis, then you must read our entire blog to know what is Tennis Elbow, what are the causes and how to get it treated.
Clinically referred to as Lateral Epicondylitis, tennis elbow causes the outer part of the elbow sore and tender. It is a painful condition that develops due to the repetitive overuse of the forearm muscles and tendons around the elbow joint. Since tennis is all about this action, hence the name tennis elbow. However, this condition is not just limited to the athletes, if your job features excessive use of elbow like plumbing, painting, carpentry etc. then you too may develop it.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
● Radiating pain and tenderness from the outside of elbow into the forearm and wrist.
● Morning stiffness with persistent pain
● Soreness of the forearm muscles
● Pain while grasping/holding an object
Seek medical help if:
● Rest, ice and use of over-the-counter pain relievers don’t ease the pain and tenderness.
● The pain is hindering your daily activities
● You find difficulty in movements like shaking hands, lifting something etc.
Tennis Elbow Causes
Repeated contraction of the forearm muscles, can strain and put too much stress on the tendons, resulting into microscopic tears in the tendons.
● Sports like Tennis, Racquetball, Squash etc.
● Jobs like Carpentry, Typing, Painting
● Despite the name, one may develop Tennis Elbow due to daily activities like:
● Using scissors, gardening
● Cutting tough food
● Sporting activities that involve high amounts of throwing
● Manual work that involves repetitive turning or lifting of the wrist
Tennis Elbow Treatments
Tennis Elbow is a condition that usually heals on its own all you need to do is to take a break from the activity that is causing your elbow strain.
1. Tennis elbow treatment at home
Rest – Even if it’s a minor pain, get complete rest as it will help the tears in your tendon to heal.
Medications – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin can be consumed to get tennis elbow pain relief. But since they can cause side effects, use them occasionally or unless your doctor says otherwise.
Strap – Wear an elbow strap to protect your injured tendon from further strain.
Tennis Elbow Exercises – Try some light tennis elbow stretching exercises so as to reduce stiffness and increase the flexibility of the forearm muscles. You can repeat it for 3-5 times a day.
Icing – Ice the injured area for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days or until the pain subsides.
Other – Steroid injections, Botox and extracorporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT) are the other options available, but they fail to give long-term benefits.
Tennis Elbow Therapy – One of the best and long-term remedies for tennis elbow, is Physical therapy, as it stretches and strengthens muscles, especially of the forearm giving instant relief from pain and tenderness. You can either consult a therapist or the best get an electrotherapy device and treat tennis elbow on your own at home. Such devices are handy, easy to operate and have a proven track record of treating tennis elbow naturally without any side effects.
2. Surgical Treatment
In some most severe cases, surgery remains as the only option to get rid of tennis elbow. In the procedure, the damaged section of the tendon usually is removed and the remaining tendon repaired. Although surgery holds a good success rate, the sad part is the recovery. It may take weeks to heal, plus several months of rehabilitation at home and physical therapy six weeks after surgery, for complete healing. The damage may worsen if there is tennis elbow pain after the surgery or if you start pushing yourself before it is completely healed. Hence, it is advisable to keep surgery as the last resort.