Tennis Elbow, causes, and Treatments
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a type of tendinitis swelling of the tendons that causes pain in the elbow and arm. These tendons are bands of tough tissue that connect the muscles of your lower arm to the bone. Despite its name, you can still get tennis elbow even if you’ve never been near a tennis court. Instead, any repetitive gripping activities, especially if they use the thumb and first two fingers, may contribute to tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow is the most common reason that people see their doctors for elbow pain it can pop up in people of any age, but it’s most common at about age 40.
Factors that may increase your risk of tennis elbow include:
- Age: While tennis elbow affects people of all ages, it’s most common in adults between the ages of 30 and 50.
- Occupation. People who have jobs that involve repetitive motions of the wrist and arm are more likely to develop tennis elbow. Examples include plumbers, painters, carpenters, butchers, and cooks.
- Certain sports. Participating in racket sports increases your risk of tennis elbow, especially if you employ poor stroke technique.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow?
The symptoms of tennis elbow include pain and tenderness in the bony knob on the outside of your elbow. This knob is where the injured tendons connect to the bone.
Tennis elbow may cause the most pain when you:
- Lift something
- Make a fist or grip an object, such as a tennis racket
- Open a door or shake hands
- Raise your hand or straighten your wrist
Treatment for Tennis Elbow
- Icing the elbow to reduce pain and swelling
- Using an elbow strap to protect the injured tendon from further strain
- Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAID), such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin, to help with pain and swelling.
- Performing range of motion exercises to reduce stiffness and increase flexibility.
- Specialized injection Therapies
- ESWT – Extracorporeal Shock Wave Therapy.
- Surgery If your symptoms haven’t improved after six to 12 months of extensive non-operative treatment, you may be a candidate for surgery to remove damaged tissue.
The key to preventing tennis elbow is to avoid overuse. Stop if you feel any elbow pain during an activity.
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