Tennis elbow is an injury that most people will be familiar with, yet the name is quite deceiving. This common elbow problem probably affects as many non-tennis players as it does tennis players.
What is tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow occurs when the tendons in the forearm are strained. The tendons become inflamed causing pain on the outside of the elbow joint. Tennis elbow can be caused by any activity that involves gripping and twisting motions in the forearm, more often than now, this injury is not related to tennis or in fact any type of exercise. Tennis elbow is often confused with Golfer’s elbow, a similar condition that affects the inside of the elbow joint rather than the outside.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms may be different from case to case; you may be fortunate and only experience mild discomfort when moving your arm, or the pain may be bad and constant enough to disturb your sleep. The outside of the elbow will be tender to the touch and possibly swollen and inflamed, this pain can also extend further down the forearm. Repetitive movements of the wrist will make the pain worse, especially if combined with a weight, for example lifting heavy objects.
What can be done to help?
It is possible for mild cases of tennis elbow to be treated without medical intervention. Most cases will ease within about 2 weeks, an elbow support may be useful to manage pain when moving, we would especially recommend the Push Elbow Epi Brace. The Push Elbow Epi applies pressure that is directed to the ex-tensors (in the case of tennis elbow) or the flexors (in the case of golfers arm) of the wrist, this then reduces the stress and strain on the elbow joint.
If elbow pain is affecting your day to day activity and does not seem to be getting less painful even with the use of a brace; you may benefit from a visit to see a Physiotherapist, they will help you get to the root cause of the problem. Tennis elbow is an overuse injury, so if you don’t address the root of the problem, it can become a long term issue. A trained Clinician will be able to use a variety of treatments – including acupuncture, ultrasound, hands on techniques and tailored exercises.
If the condition does not respond to treatment and pain persists, your physio or doctor may suggest a steroid injections as a possible treatment. One injection will probably be all you’ll need, though you may still need to rest your elbow for 2–3 weeks afterwards.