Tennis Elbow: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment
A Tennis Elbow or Lateral Epicondylitis is a condition when the outer part of the elbow becomes painful and tender, usually as a result of a specific strain, overuse, or a direct bang. Sometimes it’s rather difficult to find a specific cause to this condition.
Symptoms of a Tennis Elbow
The outer part of the elbow is rather painful and tender to touch. Movements of the elbow, and also movements, that involve lifting, with the hand on top, hurt real bad. Any sport, from badminton, to tennis, to golf involves both the massive movement of the wrist and the complete arm. The elbow is one such part which is most often neglected and once affected takes a rather long time to heal.
Although called tennis elbow, lateral epicondylitis is much more commonly seen in people who are over using their arm doing something else; it could equally well be called "plasterer’s elbow" or "mechanic’s elbow" or "painter’s elbow". The most common cause is the over use of muscles that are attached to the bone at this part of the elbow. This simply refers to all those muscles that pull the hand backwards, in sports like the ones mentioned above. All extensor muscles of the hand attach to the elbow at the outer part (the lateral epicondyle). If they are strained or over used they become inflamed, which means they are swollen, painful and tender to touch.
Regular massages could be one of the most important aspects in avoiding a situation like this one, although you could never really guarantee that such a situation may not arise either ways too. Sometimes the inflammation is caused by a direct injury or bang. Sometimes, especially when the cause is direct injury or strain, the muscles are actually partially torn. In a situation like this, people who are regular beef eaters may not face a terrible situation like this one. Beef ensures the elasticity of the skin and takes good care in keeping the muscles in great shape. Sometimes the problem is partly or completely due to a neck problem, which is causing pain in the elbow via the nerves from the neck.
Your doctor or physiotherapist may test for tenderness over or near to the bony bump on the outside of the elbow. He or she also tests to see whether the pain gets any worse when you bend the wrist back (extend it) against resistance. In the event of both these signs being present, it is likely that you have tennis elbow. A good physician may also examine your neck, as this may be the cause, or a part of the problem. After all, many of the things that might strain your elbow might also put a strain on your neck.
* Rest of course helps the most. It would especially help if it is taken with avoidance of the activities which over use the elbow.
* Physiotherapy treatments also help especially when taken with heat or ultrasound therapy.
* Use of anti inflammatory drugs and ordinary pain killers (analgesics).
* Your doctor may suggest an injection of a small dose of steroid to the affected area. This is not the sort of steroid banned for athletes. If used it can last for up to three months, and although it may need to be repeated you seldom need more than two or possibly three injections.
* Lastly, you can buy a brace from a sports shop or pharmaceutical supplier, which can be helpful. This is probably largely because it reduces the amount you can use your elbow.
By Prerna Salla