What Is Tennis Elbow?
A Tennis Elbow was first identified a century ago. It has a striking similarity to two more elbow-related strain conditions the Golfers Elbow and the Bursitis. The Golfers Elbow has similar causes with the Tennis Elbow. In this case, however, the pain is felt in the medial of the elbow or the inside part. Bursitis, on the other hand, is basically characterized by a lump at the back of the joint that is often seen through an X-ray film.
Just what is a Tennis Elbow? Well, it is a condition where gradual pain felt at the outside or lateral part of the elbow is present. It is called lateral epicondylitis and is suspected to afflict half of todays tennis players population worldwide. However, this condition may also happen to non-tennis players. In fact, only 5% of the total reported cases of Tennis Elbow injuries are due to tennis players.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
As mentioned earlier, a Tennis Elbow injury is characterized by a recurring pain on the upper forearm that radiates towards the wrist. The pain can last between six to twelve weeks while the discomfort can last between three weeks to several years. Simple movements like gripping, lifting, and carrying can also be troublesome to patients of Tennis Elbow because of the inflammation that is widespread on the muscles, the tendons, and the ligaments.
A tiny tear in the muscle coverings and the tendons causes the inflammation. Such tiny tears usually heal in no time. However, the injured parts become susceptible to damage. Repeated tears may lead to hemorrhage and the formation of a rough, granulated tissue and collagen deposits that cause swelling. The tendons heal a lot slower than the muscles. That is why a Tennis Elbow injury is often mistaken for Tendonitis. When the muscles and bones are involved, as is almost always the case, the condition is called Epicondylitis.
You must be careful in detecting the root of the problem. If the pain comes directly from the back of your elbow joint, it could be Bursitis. If swelling on the outside is evident then your condition could be anything from arthritis to infection to gout to tumor but definitely not a Tennis Elbow injury.
Relief of Tennis Elbow
The best treatment for a Tennis Elbow injury is complete rest. Stop doing chores that strain the affected part all the more. This could be more difficult during ordinary days than tennis days. But if you are keen on resolving the problem, you will make do without lifting, gripping, or carrying anything around the period of rehabilitation. The common treatment for Tennis Elbow consist just that. Giving your arm enough rest while the tendons, ligaments, and muscles involved are healing themselves is the surest way to recovery. The pain is your warning sign. For as long as the pain is there, you cannot strain your elbow otherwise you are facing a severe form of the injury. Doing therapeutic massages relieve the stress and tension in the muscles. They also help strengthen the area to be protected against any threat of relapse.
Other treatments for Tennis Elbow range from drug intake to injections to surgery depending on the level of affliction. A prescribed dose of aspirin or ibuprofen usually does it to mild cases. Both drugs are helpful in eliminating inflammation combined of course with therapies that can speed the process of healing. NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are prescribed to patients with severe cases of Tennis Elbow injuries. If absolute rest from activities that may aggravate the injury is not possible, an elbow support is advised. Compression straps are help greatly in relieving the symptoms.
Ice therapy is also used as a treatment for Tennis Elbow injury. The use of ice packs is not only cheap but is also effective. When applied for ten minutes every other time, this compression method can easily reduce the pain and discomfort. The Aircast Elbow strap is a wise choice for Tennis Elbow patients because it makes for a convenient support.
All those treatments can be useless if the painful area is not well rested. Arm exercises can only be done at least two weeks after the occurrence of the injury. Once the inflammation has settled along with the pain, progressive strengthening exercises and massages can be done to put the affected part back to normal.
If all the above treatment fails, then surgery might just be the only solution that you need. The surgical procedure is done first, to eliminate stress on the tendons by cutting them loose from the epicondyle and second, to remove granulated tissue deposits in the tendons while repairing the tears.
If, after battling a Tennis Elbow injury, you still find the urge to play Tennis, do so but play with utmost care. Warm up your arms for at least five minutes and take as much breaks as you can. You must also be cautious about your injured elbow at all times. Make sure that you stay away from activities that may summon relapse or recurrence of the injury. Once you feel pain in your arm at any point of any activity, you must pack your arm in ice and call your doctor immediately.
Prevention is still better than cure. If you do not wan to suffer from the pain and discomfort of a Tennis Elbow injury then you must learn well how to take care of your arm. Always warm up your arm before any strenuous activity. Stretching the relevant muscles will keep them equipped to face a tough task. Make it a habit to do hand exercises as well. Bending your wrist repeatedly while your elbow is cocked an your palm is faced down will strengthen your muscles significantly. Also, remember to lift objects with your palm facing your body.
A relapse is far more difficult and complicated to treat than the first straw. After battling a Tennis Elbow injury, you become susceptible to it even more. That is why you need to take extra care to prevent a recurrence of the injury from happening.
To prevent a relapse of a Tennis Elbow injury from happening, you must put a stop to all the stressful activities that cause strain on your elbow. If you must continue, do so but make sure that you perform warm up exercises for at least 10 minutes before starting on the activity. It would also help to use elbow supports. Be aware though that elbow supports may cut off blood circulation thus impede healing. If you must use them, make sure that you are doing so after you are declared free from the injury already.
Call Your Doctor If....
Any concern about your health must be consulted with a medical professional. Additional warning signs for Tennis Elbow patients include unbearable pain that persists for more than a few days and a swelling around the elbow joint. Both symptoms may lead to severe infirmity and so should not be taken for granted. Chronic inflammation of the tendons may lead to permanent disability while swelling around the elbow joint could be a sign of another condition such as arthritis, gout, infection, and even tumor.
Recommended Product for Tennis Elbow
This comfortable support is ideal for tendonitis and tennis elbow. The sealed air cell focuses more pressure on the involved muscle and less around the arm. Pressure applied to the elbow tendon helps relieve pain down the forearm. Hand wash in cool, soapy water and air dry
A quick, Secure and Easy to use Foot Store