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Tennis Elbow – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Dr. Waqar Ali

2 min read

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Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a condition that causes pain or burning on the outside of your elbow. Keep reading to learn more about the causes, symptoms, and treatment of tennis elbow.

What is tennis elbow?

Our body loves moderation. Overdoing anything, whether it be food or physical activity, has health implications. One such problem that stems from overuse is tennis elbow.

Tennis elbow is an overuse injury in the elbow. It leads to inflammation in the area, alongside perhaps tearing of the tendons and even their degeneration.

There is much pain associated with tennis elbow, which does not always occur on account of playing tennis. Also known as lateral epicondylitis, the pain from tennis elbow may originate from the elbow, but it can emanate to the forearm muscles and wrists.

What causes tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is caused by overuse of the muscles affiliated with the elbow. Essentially, too much movement strains the muscle so that the tendon associated has to bear most of the load, leading to the tendon’s inflammation and can pose the risk of tendon injury. However, it can also happen that a sudden blow to the elbow causes tennis elbow as well.

Tennis elbow symptoms

The pain with tennis elbow emanates from the outer side of the elbow. There may also be a grip issue when the pain makes it to the hands. So, everyday motions like holding or grabbing something also become problematic. There can also be a burning sensation with the pain because of the inflammation.

Tennis elbow can also cause problems with bending the arm as well. It also makes twisting action present in the banal activities like turning the doorknob harder. It can also make stretching the arm painful as well. You may also experience stiffness of the arms.

Furthermore, there can also be visible signs of swelling. Tennis elbow might also cause the elbow to become tender to touch.

Tennis elbow treatment

There are different ways to go about the management and treatment of tennis elbow. It can go away on its own but can also require a doctor’s intervention.

Some techniques that are commonly resorted to for the treatment of tennis elbow include:

Brace

Your physiotherapist might also advise you to wear a brace to carry the load of your arm, taking the burden off your muscles so they can recover quickly.

NSAIDs

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, NSAIDs, help manage the pain, as they aid in bringing the inflammation down. However, these can be hard on your stomach, so you must follow the dosage prescribed by your doctor. If you experience stomach problems, report these to your doctor ASAP.

Rest

You naturally need to rest your arm when you have overused the tendons and the muscles. If you continue still, you can exacerbate your injury.

Steroid injections

You may also be suggested steroid injections. These aid in pain relief and reduction of inflammation, but their impact is temporary.

Surgery

If the symptoms don’t improve, you might have to undergo surgery.

Physical therapy

A good physiotherapist can also be of help. They can recommend rehabilitation exercises that aid in ease of movement alongside performing therapies that are effective for pain relief and treatment.

Who gets tennis elbow?

Many people and athletes are at risk of tennis elbow, including, of course, tennis players. Any sport that requires repetitive movement of the arms, like badminton, golf, bowling, baseball, etc., also poses the risk of tennis elbow.

Moreover, people associated with certain professions also are at risk for tennis elbow, including musicians, chefs, dentists, gardeners, mechanics, and butchers, since they have to use their elbows repeatedly on a daily basis. 

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are intended to raise awareness about common health issues and should not be viewed as sound medical advice for your specific condition. You should always consult with a licensed medical practitioner prior to following any suggestions outlined in this article or adopting any treatment protocol based on the contents of this article.

Dr. Waqar Ali
Dr. Waqar Ali - Author Dr. Waqar Ali is a Physiotherapist with 3 years of experience practicing at Muhammad Hospital, Lahore. You can book an in-person appointment or an online video consultation with Dr. Waqar Ali through oladoc.com or by calling at 04238900939.

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