What is Tennis Elbow: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

December 9, 2022

What is Tennis Elbow: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment
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Tennis elbow is tendinitis, an inflammation of the tendons that hurts the elbow and arm. The tendons that connect the muscles in your lower arm to the bone are thick bands of tissue. Despite its name, tennis elbow can still occur even if you’ve never been close to a court. Tennis elbow may instead be caused by any repetitive gripping activity, particularly those that involve the thumb and first two fingers. Tennis elbow is the most typical cause of elbow pain resulting from a doctor’s visit. Any age can experience it; however, persons over 40 experience it the most frequently.

Tennis elbows causes

The portion of a muscle that connects to the bone is called a tendon. For example, the forearm muscles are connected to the elbow’s outer bone via forearm tendons. Tennis elbow frequently results from injury to the forearm’s extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle. The ECRB aids in lifting and extending the wrist.

The ECRB muscle is weakened by repetitive tension, which results in incredibly small tears in the tendon where the muscle joins to the outside of the elbow. These tears cause pain and inflammation.

Tennis elbow typically appears gradually. Repeated movements, such as grasping a racket and swinging, can strain the tendons and muscles. Microscopic rips in the tissue may eventually result from such persistent straining.

Tennis elbow may occur as a result of the following:

  • Squash
  • Fencing
  • Tennis
  • Racquetball
  • Weightlifting

Risk factors

Several things can raise your risk of developing tennis elbow, including:

  • Age: Tennis elbow can affect anyone at any age, but it most frequently affects adults between the ages of 30 and 50.
  • Occupation: Tennis elbow is more likely to develop in people whose jobs require repetitive wrist and arm motions. Examples include butchers, cooks, painters, plumbers, and carpenters.
  • Certain sports: Tennis elbow is more likely to develop if you play racket sports, especially if your stroke technique is subpar.

Tennis elbow signs and symptoms

The bony knob on the outside of your elbow might become painful and irritated if you have tennis elbow. This is because the damaged tendons attach to the bone at this knob. The upper or lower arm may also feel the ache. Even when the injury is to the elbow, using your hands is likely to make it hurt.

Tennis elbow may hurt the most if you experience:

  • Lift something
  • Make a fist or hold onto anything, like a tennis racket.
  • Shake hands or open a door.
  • Straighten your wrist or raise your hand.
  • Tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow are two conditions that damage the tendons inside the elbow.

Does one arm or both arms get tennis elbow?

Your dominant side is frequently affected by the tennis elbow. Tennis elbow can develop in either arm, depending on the repetitive activity type.

What distinguishes a tennis elbow from a golfer’s elbow?

The lateral (outside) epicondyle tendon, or outer portion of the elbow, is affected by the tennis elbow. The medial (inside) epicondyle tendon, or inner section of the elbow, is affected by the golfer’s elbow. Medial epicondylitis is the official medical name for a golfer’s elbow.

Golfer’s elbow patients have inner elbow pain that travels down the arm. Also possible are tingling and numbness in the fingers. Tennis elbow can affect golfers just as it can tennis players.

Diagnosis for tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is typically identified after a physical examination. First, your doctor will inquire about your occupation, your participation in sports, and the progression of your symptoms. After that, they’ll do a few quick tests to aid with the diagnosis. To determine whether there is any pain, your doctor may apply pressure to the area where the tendon joins the bone. For example, you will experience pain as you extend (straighten) the wrist when the wrist is flexed (bent toward the palm side) and the elbow is straight.

To rule out other conditions that can cause arm discomfort, your doctor may also request imaging tests such as an X-ray or an MRI. One of these is elbow arthritis.

Treatment for tennis elbow

The excellent news about tennis elbow treatment is that it typically heals independently. Just take it easy on your elbow and try to hasten the healing process. The following treatments are helpful:

  • The elbow can be iced to relieve pain and swelling. It should be done for 20 to 30 minutes every three to four hours for two to three days or until the pain is gone, according to experts.
  • Using an elbow strap to prevent further stress on the damaged tendon.
  • Exercising your range of motion to loosen up and become more flexible. Your doctor might advise you to perform them three to five times daily.

Home remedies for tennis elbow

  • Rest Your Elbow: Resting your arm and avoiding the movements that caused the discomfort and inflammation can be beneficial. As long as you refrain from actions and motions that can aggravate the tendons, even more, you can continue with your usual activities. When you begin your exercise again, go carefully and halt if you begin to get that recognisable discomfort.
  • Ice your elbow: Applying ice to your elbow might help minimise pain and swelling. Avoid putting ice on your skin directly as this can harm it. In a towel or cloth, wrap the ice. 3 to 4 times each day, hold the ice pack in place for 15 to 20 minutes at a time. For this purpose, some people utilise frozen peas that they keep in the freezer exclusively. They effectively retain the cold, and the bag automatically assumes the desired form.
  • Stretching and Light Exercise: We can use the E in RICE, which is often for elevation, for light stretching activities. Put your hand where your arm is straight outstretched, as though stopping. For around 15 seconds, gently move your fingers back toward your arm. Continue to unwind. The alternative stretch is to drop your hand below your wrist with the palm facing your body while keeping your arm straight. Your hand should be gently pushed in your direction. Continue to unwind.
  • Wrist extensor stretch: while keeping the elbow straight, bend the afflicted wrist downward with the unaffected hand. Hold for 20 to 30 seconds, then move on three times.
  • Isometric wrist extension: Bend your wrist back while restraining it with your other hand. Hold the position for 5–6 seconds, then 10 times.
  • Turmeric: Turmeric’s inherent ability to reduce inflammation makes it beneficial for a variety of health issues, especially tennis elbow, where the swelling of the muscles can make moving the joints painful and keep you from carrying out daily activities. The active component of turmeric, curcumin, is also a natural analgesic and is rich in antioxidants, both of which will hasten the healing of the injured tendons.
  • Garlic: Garlic is a potent remedy for the pain and discomfort associated with tennis elbow since it is rich in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory substances, sulphur, and selenium. Crush four to five garlic cloves, making a paste, and apply it immediately to the sore spot. Your tennis elbow’s pain and swelling can be quickly reduced by the potent active ingredients, which include allicin.

When should I make a doctor’s appointment?

If any of the following occur, contact your healthcare professional right away:

  • Have trouble extending your arm, manipulating it, or holding objects.
  • Red, swollen joints or a lump or bulge on your elbow.
  • Severe pain that makes it difficult to sleep or do daily tasks.

What inquiries should I make to my physician?

You might wish to inquire with your doctor about the following:

  • Why did I develop tennis elbow?
  • What is the ideal tennis elbow treatment?
  • What adjustments ought I to make to treat my symptoms?
  • What adjustments should I make to stop this issue from occurring again?
  • Should I keep an eye out for any complications?

Which doctor should I seek consultation with for tennis elbow?

An orthopaedic specialist will assess your symptoms, look at your elbow and forearm, talk to you about any lifestyle choices or activities that might contribute to the overuse injury, and conduct a thorough medical history to diagnose tennis elbow.

People also ask

How do you get tennis elbow to go away?

Tennis elbow typically lasts between six months and two years, with 90% of sufferers fully recovering within one year. The most crucial action is stopping the activity that triggered the injury and resting your injured arm.

Rest: Avoid doing things that make your elbow ache worse.

Ice: 3–4 times a day, use ice or a cold pack for 15 minutes.

What is the main cause of tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is typically brought on by overusing your forearm during demanding or repetitive activity. It could also happen if you bump or knock your elbow. Tiny tears and inflammation may form close to the bony lump (lateral epicondyle) on the outside of your elbow if the forearm muscles are overworked.

What are the signs of tennis elbow?

  • Outer elbow burning or soreness that may radiate to your wrist (these sensations may worsen at night).
  • Discomfort when bending or twisting your arm (for instance, turning a doorknob or opening a jar).
  • Discomfort or stiffness when raising your arm.
  • Elbow joint swelling that feels tender to the touch.

What does the pain of the tennis elbow feel like?

Tennis elbow pain may travel outside your elbow and into your forearm and wrist.

Disclaimer: We recommend consulting a Doctor before taking any action based on the above shared information.


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