When you think of tennis elbow, you probably picture someone holding -- or dropping -- a tennis racket. But in actual fact, only about 5 percent of tennis elbow patients ended up that way after playing tennis.
Aside from swinging a racket repeatedly, tennis elbow can be caused by repetitive movements of the arms, of many kinds. Overworked tendons and muscles are the culprits, or the victims, in these scenarios.
Webmd.com said that tennis elbow can occur when you play racquetball or squash, when you lift weights, and in the unusual event that you are fencing too frequently.
Sports aren't the only things that can cause tennis elbow. Repetitive movements like typing, raking, knitting can also lead to this painful and limiting condition.
Deposits of calcium or hemmorhage in the tissues are sources of pain. A protein called collagen puts pressure on the radial nerve due to inflammation.
Because the muscles in your hands and arms are controlled by your radial nerve, using your arms and hands can be a misery and may be impossible until the condition clears up.
Tennis elbow also goes by the name "lateral epicondylitis", a condition which causes damage to the outer, or lateral, area of your elbow.
Pain hits below the elbow, at the top external area of your forearm. It then radiates painfully down your arm.
You can be laid up with tennis elbow for approximately 6 to 12 weeks. You can speed up this recovery time or slow it down by being smart and not using your arm or being impatient and trying to do everything you normally do.
To be smart, you need to change what you are doing. You must let your arm rest till the pain subsides. Later, massage and careful exercise may help recovery.
Patience is imperative because you have torn muscles and/or ligaments. The area can remain weakened and prone to being hurt again in the future even after the tears have healed.
Webmd.com recommended applying ice to the swelling for 20 to 30 minutes every three or four hours. Do this for two or three days, or longer if pain remains. An elbow strap can offer some protection to your elbow.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications or NSAIDs help reduce inflammation but should be used sparingly if possible because they can cause bleeding and can lead to ulcers.
PubMed said that applying manipulative treatments can bring back more mobility.
Corticosteroid injections may be suggested by your doctor to reduce inflammation, restore better function and diminish pain.
Once the worst of the condition has passed, careful movement and stretching will assist in the healing process. Make it a habit to stretch your arm muscles slowly for 10 to 15 minutes at a time.
Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis). Webmd.com. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
Efficacy of tennis elbow (epicondylitis humeri radialis) treatment in CBR "Praxis". Ncbi.nlm.nih.gov. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
What is Tennis Elbow? Wisegeek.com. Retrieved August 29, 2012.
Reviewed August 30, 2012
by Michele Blacksberg RN