What is tennis elbow or golfer's elbow?
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in your elbow are overloaded, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. Did you know that you can still get tennis elbow even if you’ve never played tennis? In principle, tennis elbow or golfer's elbow can start from any activity in which the hand has to grip permanently with the elbow bent. These movements can overload the extensor tendons at the elbow, which results in inflammation and pain.
These days, tennis elbow also occurs in people who often sit in front of a computer and work with a mouse. In tennis, it usually affects players with bad technique or athletes who simply try too hard. It also affects those whose jobs feature the types of motions that can lead to tennis elbow including plumbers, painters, carpenters, and butchers.
Signs & Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
The pain of tennis elbow occurs primarily where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to a bony bump on the outside of your elbow. Pain can also spread into your forearm and wrist. In general, the affected elbow only hurts when it is moved, for example, when gripping and lifting. The strength in the hand and fingers can decrease and make it more difficult to carry heavy objects. The muscles in the forearm are often very tense. A ‘pins and needle’ sensation may develop in parallel.
Causes & Risk Factors of Tennis Elbow
Important: the cause is not at the elbow itself but in the muscles of the hand and fingers. If these are chronically overworked or used incorrectly, tennis elbow can develop. Working on a computer, renovation or plastering work, shelving maintenance, mowing the lawn or trimming the hedge, can put a strain on the muscles of the hand and thus on the elbow joint itself. Occupational groups such as plumbers or mechanics are also often affected.
Treatments of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow can usually be healed without an operation. In order for tennis elbow to heal without surgery, the patient has to change his familiar sequences of movements at work and in sports to avoid one-sided stresses and strains. A wide range of add-on treatments can also help relieve the symptoms.
Elbow supports can be worn in order to help heal irritated tendons. The compressive knit of these supports reduces pressure and supports the affected forearm musculature. This relieves tension on the tendons.
Other common procedures are physiotherapy, acupuncture, and painkillers. Special massages (transverse friction) and ultrasound or electrotherapy are said to improve the circulation.
In addition, ice packs and medicated dressings help calm the inflammation. A comprehensive range of exercises to strengthen the musculature can also cure tennis elbow or golfer's elbow.
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