Tennis elbow – also called lateral epicondylitis – is a painful condition characterized by overloaded tendons of your elbows. This condition happens due to elbow tendons injury and swelling caused by repetitive motions of the arm and wrist.
This condition is called tennis elbow because the risk factors of this condition include all arm movements involved in tennis. However, people other than tennis players may also get their elbow tendons strained and injured in a similar fashion and end up with this condition.
Table of Contents
- 1 What is the main cause of Tennis Elbow?
- 2 Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
- 3 Tennis Elbow Diagnosis
- 4 Osteopathic Treatment of Tennis Elbow
- 5 How can I Prevent Tennis Elbow?
- 6 Tennis Elbow FAQs
- 7 Request an Appointment
What is the main cause of Tennis Elbow?
The primary cause of a tennis elbow is the repeated stress on elbow tendons during activities that involve quick and repetitive arm movements. The particular tendon that gets injured to cause a tennis elbow is the extensor carpi radialis brevis. This injury generally occurs in men and women between 30 and 50 years.
When playing tennis, you may be at a higher risk of developing a tennis elbow if you hit the ball with the racket in a backhand position. This generally results in excessive strain on your forearms, causing them to become sore.
Some significant sports-related reasons for tennis elbow include:
- Using a too tightly strung or too short tennis racket
- Weak muscles in the shoulder and wrists
- Hitting the balls away from the center of the racket
Other risk factors of a tennis elbow include:
- Operating a chainsaw
- Painting with a roller or brush
- Repeating arm motions in professions like meat cutting, carpentering, and dentistry
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
The primary symptom of the tennis elbow is pain and sometimes swelling on the outside of the elbow. Pain in the forearm and the back of the hand are also symptoms of this condition. This pain may range between mild discomfort and severe pain.
Certain activities, such as twisting the forearm and other repetitive movements like gripping and extending your wrist, can worsen tennis elbow pain.
In general, the pain of tennis elbow may occur:
- On the outside of the elbow and radiate down the forearm when you lift something or bend your arm
- When you hold small objects, such as a pen
- When you twist your forearm while opening a jaw or turning a doorknob
Tennis elbow may also cause pain and stiffness when you fully extend your arm.
Tennis Elbow Diagnosis
Tennis elbow is generally diagnosed during a physical exam performed by a healthcare provider. Some other tests may also be recommended to diagnose this condition.
- X-ray test: The doctor may prescribe an x-ray test to rule out arthritis in your elbow.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): This test helps examine the degree of damage in elbow tendons. It also analyzes your neck and disks to check if the pain in the arm is due to an irregularity in your spine.
- Electromyography (EMG): EMG of the elbow is usually performed to check if the pain is due to a nerve problem.
Osteopathic Treatment of Tennis Elbow
Osteopathic treatment can help with significant tennis elbow pain relief. This treatment typically involves the following steps.
- After being diagnosed with tennis elbow, the first thing you have to do is stop the problem-causing activity. You can apply ice to help subside the pain.
- Your osteopath will call you for a clinical visit, during which they will apply gentle pressure to the forearm muscles and other areas contributing to or affected by the pain.
- During the same appointment, they will formulate instructions regarding how to take care of the injury as well as exercises you must perform to promote healing and prevent pain’s re-occurrence.
- The therapist will also suggest changes to the activity that has been the cause of the problem. This change may be related to your training or other daily activities.
- In the end, your healthcare provider may suggest measures to reduce inflammation.
Your osteopath may ask you to avoid the following.
- They may advise you not to apply heat to the elbow and other surrounding areas.
- You must not self-prescribe stretches and movements in an attempt to relieve the pain as it may aggravate the problem.
- Avoid self-massaging or using deep heat creams.
- Avoid training or the activity that caused the tennis elbow.
How can I Prevent Tennis Elbow?
You have to correct your technique for the sport or activity that involves repetitive arm movement. For this purpose, get advice from your coach regarding how to improve your arm movement technique. Other ways to prevent tennis elbow include the following.
- Warm-up your body before playing tennis or squash.
- Make sure that the tools you hold in your hands are ergonomic and support your arm movement. More specifically, these tools should not put extra strain on your elbows and tendons.
- You can also wear a tennis elbow splint when playing to avoid over-stretching your arm. This will help prevent damage to your tendons.
- Perform exercises to strengthen your forearms.
Tennis Elbow FAQs
What happens if the tennis elbow goes untreated?
Tennis elbow doesn’t usually cause a severe problem. However, it may sometimes lead to the loss of function or motion in the elbow or forearm if left untreated.
Is heat or ice better for tennis elbow?
Heat or ice may help treat tennis elbow. However, this self-therapy should be approved by a practitioner beforehand, especially when you get osteopathic treatment to treat tennis elbow.
What exercise can I do with my tennis elbow?
Some tennis elbow treatment exercises genuinely help reduce the pain and treat the condition. These exercises include:
Finger-stretch with the rubber band
Grip (holding and squeezing a softball for 10 to 15 minutes)
Wrist curl (Palm up and Palm down)
Downward wrist stretch
Be sure to speak to your therapist or coach before performing these exercises.
Request an Appointment
Osteopathy is one of the fastest and smoothest ways to help you get rid of the tennis elbow. However, you have to make sure you get this therapy from a skilled osteopath. Osteopathic treatments offered at EuroMed Clinic Dubai are provided by professional therapists with high-level expertise in therapeutic massages and manipulation. To get more information or book a consultation, fill out the form below.