Tennis elbow refers to a distressing depletion of the tendons that connect your forearm muscles to your bones. It occurs when you overwork your elbow by repeatedly performing specific actions such as painting or using hand tools. Doctors may refer to this condition as lateral epicondylitis.
Where does it cause Pain?
Your arm is experiencing pain on the outside, where the forearm meets up with your elbow. Repeated arm movements may cause tiny tears in the tendons associated with the elbow end’s extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle. The tears may cause stress on the rest of your arm, resulting in pain when you lift or grip objects. The pain can last for a long time if you do not receive treatment.
Who might suffer from a tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow can occur to anyone who repetitively carries out actions that vigorously use the forearms, wrists, or hands. Tennis elbow can afflict both recreational and professional players. It is also more common in certain professions:
- Auto mechanics and assembly line workers
- Chefs and butchers
- Construction workers, cleaners, painters, and plumbers
- Doctors of dentistry
- Landscapists and gardeners
- Nail technicians
Causes of Tennis Elbow:
Tennis elbow occurs due to repetitious incorrect arm movements. These wrong movements can become the reason for small tears in the tendon attachments at the elbow and lead to inflammation and irritation of the tendon. Typically, the extensor muscles become distressful from this tendon breakdown responsible for straightening the wrist.
Regardless of its name, the tennis elbow indicates any injury of the specific tendon caused by excessive use. It can result from day-to-day activities like:
- Cutting with scissors
- Cutting hard foodstuffs
- The cultivation of plants (Gardening)
- Sports involving high quantities of throwing
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
The tennis elbow usually presents as a sore on the outer side of your elbow. Over time, the pain can become a constant source of discomfort from several weeks to several months.
The outer side of the elbow may be too distressing and aching to touch. The pain can be felt even when you do nothing, but it is usually triggered by specific movements, especially wrist movements that strain the elbow tendon. Tennis elbow can affect one or both arms.
Risk factors of tennis elbow
The following factors may boost your danger of developing tennis elbow:
- Age: It afflicts individuals of all ages, but it is most prevalent in adults between 30 and 50.
- Occupation: It is more likely to develop in people who work in jobs that require repetitive wrist and arm motions, such as; plumbers, painters, carpenters, butchers, and chefs.
- Specific Sports: Racket sports boost your risk of tennis elbow, especially if you use poor stroke technique.
Diagnoses of tennis elbow
As part of your physical examination, your healthcare provider will examine the elbow joint for signs of distress, inflammation, and stiffness. The doctor may also investigate activities that cause distressing and aching. You might undergo one or more of the following tests to make a diagnosis:
- X-rays for excluding conditions such as arthritis or broken bones.
- Imaging tests, such as MRIs, computed tomography (CTs), or ultrasounds may be performed to evaluate the condition of tendons and muscles.
- Electromyography (EMG) may be performed to identify the presence of pressed nerves by measuring muscle and nerve electrical activity.
Treatment of Tennis Elbow
It may improve on its own with minor or no treatment. However, the healing may take up to 18 months. It is possible to accelerate your recovery with nonsurgical techniques.
- Nonsurgical and minimally intrusive treatments involve:
- Rest: You may require lessening your activities for a few weeks to allow your tendons to recover.
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs, such as ibuprofen (Advil®) and naproxen (Aleve®), can minimize soreness and swelling.
- Braces: Your doctor may recommend using a removable counterforce brace. This device relieves tension on the muscles and tendons.
- Physical therapy: Physical therapy can help strengthen your forearm muscles and increase your gripping power. Massage, ultrasound, or other muscle stimulation techniques may help minimize pain and improve function.
- Steroid injections: Insertable corticosteroids minimize inflammation and soreness temporarily. Typically, these injections are performed under ultrasound guidance to ensure that they are placed correctly.
- Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy: Platelets are small cell fragments in your blood that boost the healing process. (PRP) therapy injections include removing a tiny amount of blood and separating platelets from other blood cells. Under ultrasound guidance, they insert the concentrated platelets into the bruised area.
- Extracorporeal shock wave therapy: Sound waves can help dissolve scar tissue. As a result, blood circulation to the injured area improves.
- Minimally invasive tenotomy: Your doctor may conduct a minimally intrusive method to detach degenerative tendon tissue from the inside of your tendon. The TenJet method employs a needle device that uses great-pressure saline to produce suction and hydro-resect the degenerative tendon tissue. This could be an alternative to more invasive surgical techniques in some situations.
- Surgery: Symptoms may require surgery if they do not improve after a year of treatment. Your physician can better decide if surgery is necessary to treat your condition. An arthroscopic procedure is performed through a tiny scope injected into the elbow or an open process through a more extensive incision made directly over the elbow.
Both techniques are appropriate for removing dead tissue and reattaching healthy muscles to the bone. In 80-90 % of cases, surgery successfully treats tennis elbow. However, some muscle strength can be lost as a result of surgery.
It is possible to prevent tennis elbow in several ways, including:
- Use the appropriate equipment and technique for a particular sport or task.
- Perform workouts that maintain the strength and flexibility of the forearm.
- Apply ice to the elbow after engaging in vigorous physical activity.
- Rest your elbow when it is painful to bend or straighten your arm.
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- https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/tennis-elbow-lateral-epicondylitis/ retrieved on April 16, 2022.
- https://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/tennis-elbow-lateral-epicondylitis retrieved on April 16, 2022.
- https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases/7049-tennis-elbow-lateral-epicondylitis retrieved on April 16, 2022.
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