Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
What is Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)?
Tennis Elbow is also known as Lateral Epicondylitis
is considered a cumulative trauma injury.Tennis elbow is a common
injury and got it's name as tennis elbow because tennis players are
often prone to get this injury. This condition occurs in response to
inflammation and degeneration of the tendon that attaches to the muscles
of the forearm, specifically, the origin of the extensor carpi radialis
How is Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) caused?
Lateral Epicondylitis is caused by the overuse of the wrist
extensors (muscles that pull the hand up) can create cumulative stress
on the tendons that attach to the elbow at the outer part (the lateral
epicondyle). This excessive stress may damage the muscle attachment and
cause inflammation and pain. Generally, those who experience lateral
epicondylitis perform activities with motion of the wrist and arm, or
lifting while the palm is facing down. The condition is quite common in
the late 30s and early 40s. In racket sports such as table-tennis,
lawn-tennis, badminton... intense gripping can lead to tennis elbow. It
appears to be caused by lack of strength, inefficient technique,
improper equipment or increasing playing time and intensity too quickly.
In tennis, a common cause is a racquet's inappropriate string tension
and grip circumference. Sometimes the inflammation is caused by a direct
injury or impact. Occasionally, when the cause is direct injury or
strain, the muscles may partially tear.
Rarely the inflammation comes on without any definite cause, and this
may be due to an arthritis, rheumatism or gout. Sometimes the problem
is partly or completely due to a neck problem, which is causing pain in
the elbow via the nerves from the neck.
The area of most pain is usually near the bone on the outer side of
the elbow known as the lateral epicondyle. This area is usually tender
when touched and may be uncomfortable when gripping. In severe cases,
almost any elbow movement can be uncomfortable.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis):
- Pain on the outside of the Elbow, usually during or after intense use.
- Weakness in the wrist.
- In some cases, lifting or grasping even light racquets may be difficult or painful.
- Pain in the outside of the elbow when the hand is bent back (extended) at the wrist against resistance.
- Pain on the outside of the elbow when trying to straighten the fingers against resistance.
- Pain when pressing in on the bony bit on the outside of the elbow.
Treatment of Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow):
- Rest the elbow and apply R.I.C.E.treatment (Rest , Ice , Compression , Elevation) for the first two days.
- See a doctor who could prescribe some anti-inflammatory
medication. In chronic or intense cases, a cortisone injection may
relieve the discomfort.
- Wear a brace or support to protect the tendon during the healing
and strengthening process, particularly when returning to your sports.
- If non-surgical forms of treatment do not eliminate the pain of this condition, surgery may be recommended.
When can I return to my sport or activity ?
The goal of any rehabilitation program is to return you to your sport
or activity as soon and as safely as possible. But, if you return too
soon you may worsen your injury, which could lead to permanent damage.
Everyone recovers from injury at a different rate. Returning to your
sport or activity will be determined by recovering ability, the sooner
your wrist recovers, the soon you would be able to return to your sport
or activity. Returning to your sport or activity is not determined by
how many days or weeks have passed since your injury had occurred. In
general, the longer you have symptoms of the injury, the longer it will
take you to get better.
You may return to your sport or activity when each of the following is true:
- The injured elbow has full range of motion without any pain.
- Your doctor may allow you to return to competition with your elbow taped or in a brace.
- Your injured elbow, hand, and forearm have the same strength as it was there before the injury.
- You must not have any pain when doing activities such as swinging a bat or a racquet or performing tumbling in gymnastics.
Tennis Elbow Cure and Remedy for it
- Go for ultrasound or laser treatment.
- Take a massage from a physician.
- Go to a doctor who can advise on rehabilitation.
- Take some anti-inflammatory medication.
- A steroid injection may me needed.
- Operation my be done if the condition is too bad.
Rest is a very important component in the healing of
this injury. It may heal quickly within two weeks but you could suffer
with this problem for up to two years. When the symptoms have settled
down it is essential you fully rehabilitate and strengthen the elbow and
follow guidelines that will help you avoid the injury in the future:
- Correct technique - play the backhand with the arm not the wrist!
- Use a forearm brace or heat retainer if you have a weak wrist or elbow.
- Do not play with wet, heavy balls.
- Use a light racket if you do not play very often.
- Make sure that strings of your racquet are not too tight.