Not surprisingly that most people think that tennis elbow can only affect tennis and racket players. Several other sports can succumb you to this risk. So what is tennis elbow? How do you treat or prevent it?
Tennis Elbow is a painful strain or condition that occurs whenever your elbow tendons are overloaded. It is also caused by repetitive arm and wrist motions. It does not only happen to tennis players but also to people whose jobs constitute lots of motions. Such jobs include carpentry, butchers, painters, and plumbers.
Those suffering from this condition are likely to experience pains primarily where forearm muscle tendons attach to your outer elbows’ bony bump. If left untreated, the pain can spread through your wrist and forearm.
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You can only understand this condition better if you know the anatomy behind it. Well, an elbow joint consists of 3 bones: the humerus, the upper arm bone, and two other bones; the radius and the ulna.
At the bottom of the humerus, there are several body bumps known as epicondyles. Herein begins several forearm muscles. Lateral epicondylitis involves these tendons and muscles, which are responsible for wrist and finger extension.
What Causes Tennis Elbow?
This is not necessarily a disease, but it’s a condition. It is important to note that it affects mostly people between 30 and 50 years of age. The primary cause of this condition is any activity that tends to strain the muscles around your elbow.
In tennis, backhand hits stress the players’ forearms muscles. This is because they tend to clench whenever you stress to hit the ball. If you happen to have a tight grip on the racket or when your techniques and skills are off, you’re likely to stress your tendons.
Other causes include:
Not only do you get tennis elbow from tennis but also from other racket-related sports, which include racquetball and squash. Persistence playing can cause strains that tear the tendons giving you a slight soreness. This gives you strains and pains.
Research shows that 60% of people suffering from this condition participate in work activities. This leaves only 40% to people involved with racket-related activities. Such work requiring repetitive hand and wrist extension and forearm muscles such as painting may also cause a tennis elbow.
Most people exposed to this condition are between 30 to 50 years of age. However, this does not mean that any other person cannot get it. In sports like tennis, improper skills when striking or faulty equipment are some of the risk factors.
Unrecognized repetitive injury
Sometimes you may have injured your elbow, and you didn’t recognize the injury at first. Even though the pain may disappear within days, it may re-occur in the future. This repetitive occurrence is known as idiopathic and can be a nuisance.
What Are The Sign and Symptoms of Tennis Elbow?
How do you know that you’re suffering from lateral epicondylitis? First, this condition develops gradually, and in most cases, you’re likely to experience mild pain, which slowly worsens with time.
It is important to note that there are no specific injuries associated with the initial symptoms. Some common signs and symptoms include:
- Weak grip
- Sore forearm muscles
- Outer tenderness of your elbow
- Morning stiffness
- Late-night pains
- Persistence aching
- Pain exceed when holding an object or grasping
When to Seek Medical Care
Since this condition rarely leads to severe problems, you may not know the right time to see a doctor. When treated in its early stages, it heals faster and with ease.
If the condition is left untreated, weak elbow functioning and loss of motion are likely to occur. In case of persistence, pain limits your daily activities and persist despite resting or icing; consider seeing a doctor.
Over-the-counter pain relievers may be used if you feel you’re suffering from this condition; however, you should also seek medical care if the pain persists.
Tennis Elbow Home Remedies
If you notice any of the above signs and symptoms, you can use the following remedies at the comfort of your home to treat Tennis Elbow.
This is the common and the most straightforward home remedy. Once you feel pain in your elbow, ice the affected area for 20 minutes. You can do this at least two times a day. This helps to relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
It is important to note that you should at no point put ice directly on your skin. Either wrap it in a towel or use a paper cup to freeze water, tear the top rim and let the ice melt on the affected part.
In most cases, injuries are the common causes of tennis elbow. Therefore in case, you feel the early signs ensure you sufficiently rest the sore area. This helps to decrease the pain as well as preventing further injuries.
Other treatments include the use of over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications. They will help reduce swelling and pain hence faster healing. On the other hand, medical treatment includes physical therapist, elbow strap, and therapy from sport medicine doctors.
Tennis elbow can get as serious as any other injuries. Getting to know what it is, how it happens, and how to treat and prevent such conditions is vital to tennis players and everyone. You can prevent tennis elbow by keeping your wrist and arms flexible and healthy. Ensure you make lesser repetitive movements, and in case you play any racket related sport, get your equipment checked by an expert before use.