Monday, 26 May 2014

Everything you need to know about Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is the name given to a condition that causes pain on the outside of the elbow. The medical term for tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis or common extensor tendinopathy. Tennis elbow is caused by repeatedly overusing the muscles of the forearm that attach to the elbow and move the wrist. The muscles and tendon become strained so that small tears develop in the tendon near the bony lump at the elbow (epicondyle).

Symptoms of a tennis elbow

Tender painful area on the bone on the outer part of the elbow.
- Pain on gripping even small objects such as a pen.
- Pain when twisting the forearm such as opening a jar.
- Pain when lifting a weight.
- Pain when using a keyboard.
- Difficulty in straightening the elbow.

Tennis balls in Simply Sports.

Early stage treatment

- Rest. It is important to stop or change the activity that is causing the pain.
- Ice pack. Apply a cold pack to the painful area for 10 minutes every two hours. Do not apply ice directly to the skin. Either wrap ice in a wet tea towel or cloth or use sports gel pack that can be placed in the freezer.
- Strap or braze. Some people find tennis elbow splints helpful. These should be worn only when doing activity and should be removed at night.
- Over the counter medicines such as paracetamol or ibuprofen gels can help with pain relief.

Later stage treatment

- Exercise. It is essential to regain full flexibility and strength of the forearm muscles. A physiotherapist can devise a programme of exercises to recondition the forearm muscles. In some instances tennis elbow is caused by weakness in the shoulder girdle muscles and strengthening these muscles is part of a rehabilitation programme.
- Manual treatment. If the condition is persistent specific soft tissue manipulation performed by a physiotherapist can be helpful.

                                               Treating Tennis Elbow by Randy Woodman

When returning to sport the following should be observed:

- Take adequate rest between sessions.
- Do not play sport if your arm is painful.
- Do not return to playing sport until you have regained the strength in your arm muscles.
- Get professional advice on your technique and the equipment you use.

Preventing a tennis elbow

Tennis elbow is usually an overuse injury and can be prevented by taking simple precautions.

- Do gentle warm-up exercises before activity to prepare the arm for the stresses and strains normally experienced when exercising.
- Take regular breaks if you are doing a repetitive activity.
- Stopping the activity that’s causing the problem or find a different way to do it.
- Seeking advice early from your GP or Chartered Physiotherapist if  symptoms do not settle with self management.

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