Paining Elbow or Tennis Elbow? Here’s Everything You Need To Know!
Paining Elbow or Tennis Elbow? Here's Everything You Need To Know!

By Malla Reddy Narayana on 19 May, 2022

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Tennis elbow also referred to as lateral epicondylitis is a painful ailment that develops when the tendons in the elbow are overworked, usually as a result of repetitive wrist and arm motions.

Tennis elbow affects people of all ages, not just athletes. Plumbers, painters, carpenters, and butchers are among those whose vocations require repetitive motions that might cause tennis elbow. 

The tennis elbow causes pain on the outside of the elbow where the tendons of the forearm muscles join to a bony bump. the pain also has the tendency to spread and hence, it might also affect the forearm and wrist. Tennis elbow is commonly treated with rest and over-the-counter pain medications. If non-surgical treatments fail or symptoms become incapacitating, the doctor may recommend surgery.

What causes tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is an ailment caused due to muscular strain and overuse. The forearm muscles that one employs to straighten and lift the hand and wrist are the source of the problem. The tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the bony prominence on the outside of the elbow may rupture as a result of repeated motions and tissue stress.

Tennis elbow can be caused by a variety of activities, including the repeated usage of the backhand stroke with inadequate technique. Tennis elbow can also be caused by a variety of other common arm motions, such as:

– Using plumbing equipment

– Painting

– Screwdrivers

– Chopping up ingredients for preparation, especially meat

– Use of a computer mouse repeatedly

Difference between a tennis elbow and a golfer’s elbow?

The tennis elbow affects the outside/lateral part of the epicondyle tendon, which is located on the outside of the elbow. Golfer’s elbow is also referred to as medial epicondylitis 

Golfer’s elbow causes pain in the inner elbow that extends down the arm. The patient may also experience tingling and numbness in their fingers. Tennis elbow can affect golfers just as it can affect tennis players.

What are the risk factors for tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow can affect anyone who engages in repetitive activities involving the forearms, wrists, or hands on a daily basis. 

– Players of baseball and softball.

– Bowlers.

– Fencers.

– Golfers.

– Players of tennis, squash, pickleball, and racquetball.

Tennis elbow is more common among those who work in particular professions:

– Auto mechanics and assembly line workers

– Chefs and butchers

– Carpenters, cleaners, painters, and plumbers 

– Dentists.

– Landscapers and gardeners

– Manicurists.

– Musicians are just a few examples.

What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?

Symptoms usually appear gradually, over the course of weeks and months, the pain may worsen. Tennis elbow symptoms include:

– Burning or agonizing pain radiating from the outside elbow to the wrist. In some cases, this pain also gets worse at night

– When twisting or bending the arm for let’s say opening a doorknob, one may experience pain 

– When extending the arm, one may experience stiffness or pain.

– The elbow joint is swollen and sensitive to the touch.

– The strength to grasp is weakened considerably 

Methods of diagnosis

A physical examination will be performed to examine elbow joint pain, edema, and stiffness. The doctor may also inquire about any activities that cause pain. One or more of the following tests may be used to make a diagnosis:

– X-rays are used to rule out illnesses such as arthritis and shattered bones.

– Ultrasound,  MRI and computed tomography (CT) scans are used to evaluate tendon and muscle injury.

– Electromyography (EMG) measures muscle and nerve electrical activity to look for compressed nerves.

Method of treatment

Tennis elbow may improve on its own, requiring little or no therapy. However, it is possible that the recovery will take up to 18 months. There are non-surgical approaches that have been proven to speed up healing. The following are nonsurgical  therapies for tennis elbow:

– Rest: One may need to pause or reduce their activity for a few weeks to allow the tendons to repair.

– NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs): NSAIDs like ibuprofen and naproxen can help with pain and inflammation.

– Braces: The doctor may advise wearing a counterforce brace, which is a removable support brace. Tendons and muscles are relieved of stress with this tool.

– Physical Therapy: Physical therapy can help to strengthen the forearm muscles and improve gripping strength. Muscle stimulating treatments like massaging can also go a long way in improving the condition.

Some minimally invasive methods include

– Injectable corticosteroids: They provide temporary relief from joint pain and inflammation. Many doctors take the help of ultrasound in the procedure since they must be placed in the precise region.

– Platelet Rich Plasma Therapy: Platelets are microscopic cell fragments in the blood that aid in healing. During the platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy A little volume of blood is removed and platelets are separated from others. The concentrated platelets are then injected into the damaged area under ultrasound supervision.

– Extracorporeal shock wave therapy: Sound waves can tear up scar tissue in extracorporeal shock wave therapy. Following then, blood flow to the injured area improves.

– Minimally invasive tenotomy: In order to get rid of the degenerative tissue from the insides of the tendon, this method is implied. It is also referred to as  TenJet, which is a treatment that combines a needle device and high-pressure saline to induce suction and hydro-resect degenerative tendon tissue. This could be a viable alternative to a more extensive surgical procedure.

Methods to prevent tennis elbow

Tennis elbow can be avoided by taking the following steps:

– Don’t try to push through discomfort. Pain is the body’s method of communicating, and one must pay attention. Overexering an aching tendon can cause tendon damage and possible tears.

– Make sure the device is properly fitted. Stiff or loose-strung racquets, for example, may worsen forearm stress.

– Strengthen the forearms and wrists by lifting weights.

– Before beginning work or any activity, stretch the wrists and arms.

– To prevent symptoms from getting worse, wear an elbow brace.

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