What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is the severe swelling of the joint in the elbow. This inflammation is generally a result of overuse, provoking painful sensations on the outer side of the elbow and, in some cases, along the back of the forearm. Tennis elbow can make it difficult to fully straighten the arm without pain.
Tennis Elbow Symptoms
Some symptoms related to tennis elbow include:
– Having a weaker grip than usual
– Pain when holding objects or squeezing hands
– Pain when performing tasks that involve squeezing motions, such as opening jars, using tools, or lifting objects
– Mild to severe elbow pain
Tennis Elbow Causes
Tennis elbow is primarily caused when a certain forearm muscle becomes damaged. This muscle is known as the ECRB muscle (extensor carpi radialis brevis), and it plays a major role in moving the wrist.
Sports and other physical activities that repetitively engage this muscle slowly damage its tendons. When enough damage has occurred, a person will experience pain and inflammation. Some of the physical activities that commonly cause tennis elbow include:
– Frequent work with hammers, screwdrivers, and other tools
How is Tennis Elbow treated?
Nonsurgical treatment methods are sufficient for a majority of tennis elbow cases. These include:
– Physical therapy
– Ultrasound therapy
– Anti-inflammatory medication
For those who continue to suffer tennis elbow symptoms after a year of nonsurgical treatment, doctors may recommend surgery on the elbow.