Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is the inflammation of the tendons that insert into the elbow bone on the outside of the elbow joint. Tennis elbow is a type of tendonitis and is considered to be common among people who execute activities that overuse their elbow joints to the point of causing harm to the tendons in the elbow.
Even though the condition tends to make one think that it is directly related to playing tennis, fewer than 10% of patients with the condition actually acquired the condition due to anything tennis related. Tennis elbow can be something that just about anyone might experience at some point in their life. The inflammation due to overuse can be caused by job activities, athletic sports, gardening, and even activities like carrying grocery bags or cooking. Not only is the tendon in the elbow inflamed, but it is also degenerating and becoming weaker.
The risk factors of tennis elbow are repeating the damage after healing has already occurred. The pain and uncomfortability can make the things that people enjoy a painful experience. This form of tendonitis is much more likely in people above the age of 40, particularly those who remain active, those who smoke, or those who are obese.
Signs & Symptoms
Tennis elbow causes elbow pain and discomfort. The most common sign of tennis elbow is tenderness of the bony prominence part of your elbow. If you experience elbow pain when picking up objects, shaking someones hand or any other activity that stresses the tendons in the forearm, then there is a chance that you may have tennis elbow.
The pain can be either gradual or immediate. If you experience the pain spreading to other parts of your forearm or weakening of your forearm strength then make a visit to your healthcare professional in order to diagnose the issue.
Tennis elbow can be clinically diagnosed, meaning that your healthcare professional can diagnose tennis elbow through understanding the symptoms and examination. Other procedures like x-rays are not used to diagnose tennis elbow.
The number one treatment of tennis elbow is rest and to avoid any type of movement that might agitate the inflamed tendons in the elbow. Specific braces and straps are designed to prevent these movements and so you may find one of these helpful. The braces are often a wrist brace in order to prevent the tendons in your forearm from extending far enough to aggravate the tennis elbow. And the straps may be worn in order to help healed tendons from becoming damaged.
You may be prescribed NSAID medications, and certain types of rehabilitation to correct the arm movements are often prescribed in order to prevent the same damage from repeating. Surgery is rarely necessary, but can be performed if these other forms of treatment are ineffective.