Learn more about Tennis Elbow and how to get pain free.
In your arm there is a series of muscles that run through to your wrist and are attached to a bony bump on the outside of your elbow called the lateral epicondyle. Sometimes, through injury or by repetitive overuse, the site where these muscles insert can become irritated or inflamed.
This condition is known as lateral epicondylitis or more commonly as "tennis elbow"- although the majority of those affected do not play tennis.
There are numerous activities that can lead to the creation of "tennis elbow". Typically activities involving repetitive wrist extension are the main cause of this condition, i.e., tennis, carpentry, bricklaying, knitting, playing piano, typing, or lifting objects with your palm facing down. On average the condition is 3 times more likely to strike your dominant arm.
Tennis elbow typically starts as short burts of intermittent pain or slight discomfort during the activity. Slowly over time the condition progresses to the point where even simple activities, like holding a coffee cup, become painful. Pain in some cases may worsen when you straighten your arm, grip a doorknob or shake hands. The pain may vary from mild to severe and commonly radiates into the forearm, sometimes to the wrist.
Without treatment, "tennis elbow" usually lingers - of individuals suffering from tennis elbow 80% still report pain after one year. When putting together a treatment plan for getting over "tennis elbow" the first step is to modify or eliminate activities that cause symptoms. At night time it is best to avoid sleeping with your elbow compressed under your pillow. It is also best to avoid lifting heavy objects with your palm facing down.
If you are an avid tennis player or racquetball player you may need to consider changing to a lighter racket or a smaller handle. In some cases we may prescribe a "counter force brace" for your elbow. This brace will act as a temporary new attachment site for your muscles, what this does is reduce the stress to your elbow. In some cases sports creams and home ice massage may provide relief as well. Be patient with your recovery!