Tennis elbow, what is it, what causes it and what can be done to help symptoms?
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a condition that tends to cause pain on the outside of your elbow. Although the name may suggest that it is purely related to tennis, this is not the case.
The condition is thought to commonly occur from a repeated overuse of the muscles of your lower arm and thus tennis elbow may be considered a repetitive strain injury. This could be from repeated daily activities or a change in activity which places a change in the demand of these muscles. Activities which require a gripping motion, such as decorating, make tennis elbow more common. Trauma to the elbow or a sudden forceful pull may also cause the condition to develop.
The elbow is surrounded by muscles which operate our not only our elbow but our wrist and hand too. The muscles commonly affected in tennis elbow are those which control extension of the forearm. These muscles control pulling our wrist back and all attach, via tendons to the lateral epicondyle of your elbow. This is the bony lump on the outside of your elbow. The overuse of the tendon, causes trauma and micro tears to appear and these, when constantly overused, fail to heal.
Tennis Elbow treatment
The good news is, there are many treatment options which can not only lessen your pain, but also speed up your recovery too.
Looking at the activities that may be causing the condition in the first place, is stage one. If you are unable to rest from the activity, look at ways you can modify it. This include for example, widening and loosening your grip, taking more breaks, using wrist supports etc.
Ice and arnica can also be used to lessen inflammation and swelling in the area.
Pain killers and anti-inflammatories may also be considered as may cortisone injections.
Osteopathy, physiotherapy or acupuncture can all be considered as options to improve mobility, lessen stiffness and reduce pain as part of a combined approach.
Surgical procedures are also possible when healing fails to occur and when symptoms are persistent and prolonged.
For more information on the range of treatments we offer at BOP see Our Treatments page.