Treating Tennis Elbow - Symptoms, Causes, and Preventive Measures

Tennis Elbow

Strengthening Tennis Elbow

Are you feeling a sharp pain along the elbow’s outside area? Has your grip become weaker than the normal? Do you always drop items? If you have all these symptoms, you may have the condition of tennis elbow. This is a condition which greatly affects the person's involved activities which require intense and repetitive forearm use.

Such a condition can make your life miserable as you will be not able to perform your daily task, you would not be  able to hold something as simple as a cup of tea. But there is nothing to worry about, you can prevent and treat the condition by going through different treatment options available for tennis elbow and by using elbow tendonitis brace.

Are you looking for some treatment to lower the pain caused by the tennis elbow? Do you want to strengthen the elbow muscle? If yes, you have arrived at the perfect place. However, before all that, you should have proper knowledge about the condition, its causes and symptoms as the treatment options depend on these factors. Read through the article to know about all these.

Tennis Elbow Muscle

What do you mean by Tennis Elbow?

The term tennis elbow, medically known as lateral epicondylitis is an inflammation of the tendon which helps to attach the forearm to the bone of arm. What exactly causes the condition of tennis elbow is still not proved, some think that the major reason behind this is frequent wear and tear of the elbow joints.[1]

Tennis elbow is also treated as a swelling of the tendons which causes pain in the elbow and arm. Despite the name, you can still suffer from the condition even if you never played tennis in your life. Any kind of repetitive gripping activities which involve the use of the thumb and first two fingers may lead to such condition.

It is the number one reason why most people visit the doctors for elbow pain. The lateral epicondylitis can arise in people of any age, but this is most among the people of age 40. However, there is a good understanding of the way the pain can be controlled, and also what steps can be taken to lower the pain experienced by people.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

  • This condition is generally associated with the pain which arises on the elbow’s outside area. This symptomatic pain can get worse when you attempt to lift weights, or to grip objects or while engaging your wrist muscles. In chronic condition, you may experience pain and a burning sensation while carrying our simple task like writing or lifting a cup of milk.
  • Occasionally, you may feel tenderness in your elbow associated with the pain.  The pain usually decreases after a period of rest. In addition to pain around the elbow, you can feel a shooting pain which can move down the forearm.  Sometimes such pain can be asymptomatic. You can lower the pain by tennis elbow physical therapy.
  • In chronic pain condition, you may experience bruising and swelling of the elbow. If you found such symptom, you should visit your doctor as soon as possible. The reason behind this bruising and swelling near the elbow area can be a body's warning system, and it not treated on time, it can cause severe damage to your elbow.[2]

     The condition can develop pain:

    • While lifting an object (small to large objects).
    • You can feel pain while fisting of gripping the objects like tennis rackets or cricket bats.
    • While opening your room’s door or shaking hands with someone.
    • You may feel shooting pain when straightening the wrist.

    Elbow Pain

    There are more  symptoms of elbow pain. However, patients usually seek medical help or treatment before it reaches an advanced stage. In some cases, it has seen that elbow tendonitis brace can lower the pain by providing required comfort to the elbow.

    General Causes of Tennis Elbow

  • The primary reason behind such condition is repeating and incorrect movements of the arm. Such an event can lead to small tears in the tendon. While playing tennis, you use a repeated motion which can cause pain in the elbow.
  • Incorrect techniques sometimes can develop the power in the swing of a racquet and around the wrist. It develops a movement on your wrist, not in the shoulder and elbow joints.  Such a situation can put heavy pressure on the tendon, causing inflammation and irritation.
  • It has seen that the extensor muscles turn painful following the tendon breakdown. The extensor muscles straighten the wrist.
  • Other Causes

    The lateral epicondylitis can develop from daily activities. For example:

    • Suing scissors for a long period or inappropriately.
    • Cutting tough food.
    • Performing sporting activities which involve high amounts of throwing.
    • Swimming.
    • Doing manual works which require repetitive movement of the wrist. For example, plumbing, typing, or painting, etc.

    However, sometime you may not notice any symptoms of tennis elbow.

    Treatment for Tennis Elbow

    If you have a stronger elbow, there is a lower chance of such condition. But if not, you need to strengthen your muscles and tissues of the forearm. Using elbow tendonitis brace can lower the pain, but it is not good to use such a brace for a long time.

    Some Effective Targeted Elbow Exercises

    Targeted exercises and stretches will definitely strengthen the muscles and connective tissues of the forearm. Performing exercise daily, you can speed up the repair process of musculoskeletal damage. There are three types of exercises through which you can prevent pain in the elbow. But the exercises are suitable when the inflammation is minor or has been reduced following rest, tennis elbow physical therapy and some other treatments.[3]

    Fist clench

    This simple exercise can strengthen the long flexor tendons located in the finger and thumb. It also helps you to restore your gripping quality. To perform this, first, place your forearm on a flat surface while holding a ball in the hand. Then start squeezing the ball for 10 seconds. Repeat the steps 10 times.  

    Extension exercise

    It is the extensor muscles that support the motions of wrist bending. But it also suffers from a lot of wears and tears. It is also one of the most majorly affected forearm components among the patients of lateral epicondylitis. Wrist extension exercise can help to strengthen your weakened muscles. To do this, hold a  two pound dumbbell, face your palm downward. Now put your elbow on your knee and curl the wrist toward yourself. By doing this, you are extending the muscles of extensor and the wrist. Do this 10 times a day.

    Wrist turn

    To strengthen the damaged muscles and tendon, you can practice wrist turning exercise in a controlled manner. For this, you need to hold the hand out with the palm and the elbow at a right angle. Now turn the wrist and rotate the palm without moving the arm. Make sure is it facing downward.

    Hold that position for around five to ten seconds and then release. Practice three sets and ten wrists turn in each set. You can do this exercise by with a lightweight dumbbell. A two-pound dumbbell will be enough. While practising this, you can elbow tendonitis brace to get required support.

    These simple elbow exercises will help you to stimulate healing and restoration after an injury to the elbow. You can practice the exercises at your home. However, you can go for the tennis elbow physical therapy program to learn about the techniques to lower the pain.

    Strengthening Tennis Elbow

    Useful Tips to Prevent Tennis Elbow

    General tips:

      • Practising exercise to strengthen the wrist as well as forearm can help you to prevent lateral epicondylitis.
      • Try to completely avoid the works which involve repetitive hand and arm movements. If this is not possible for you, you should wear a support brace while doing the task.
      • Learn how to use your shoulder and upper arm muscles while working. This will take out the stress from your elbow.
      • Always stick to the middle of the range of motion. Don’t bend or straighten your arm beyond its limit point.
  • Warm up your body’s muscle and stretch them before plying any sports and doing some activities.
  • Things to follow at work

    • Avoid working at your office with a bent wrist. If possible, try to keep your wrist straight. Take some rest while typing using a keyboard.
    • Follow smooth movement.
    • Try to change the setup of your office room to reduce the strain level on the wrist.

    Tips to follow while using tools

  • Use the tools which have better grips. Use gloves to hold the tools comfortably.
    • Always hold tools with a looser grip if possible.
    • While using a hammer, you can use padding to reduce the stress on the wrist.

    There is no need to suffer in silence. If you have such a condition, consult with your doctor now and find the best treatment option for the condition.

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