get-rid-of-tennis-elbow
18 Oct
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3 Ways to Alleviate or Get Rid of Tennis Elbow

In this blog, we will review what tennis elbow is and who it may affect. Symptoms and treatments are important when it comes to deciding what your best course of action may be if you are experiencing this condition. Check out all of the information below and how to help alleviate or get rid of tennis elbow. 

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is an uncomfortable condition that develops when the tendons in your elbow are overworked, typically as a result of repetitive wrist and arm motions. A tendon is a tough band of tissue that connects muscles to bones. Tennis elbow primarily hurts where your forearm muscle tendons join a bony area on the outside of your elbow. Additionally, your forearm and wrist may experience pain, and it can hurt when you bend or straighten your arm or grab onto or pick something up.  It is a very common injury as there are almost three million cases each year and is most common in people between the ages of 30 and 50.

Tennis elbow isn’t just a problem for sports, despite its name. Plumbers, painters, carpenters, and butchers are among the professions that use the motions that can cause tennis elbow. Those who type a lot and use a mouse at their computer can also develop issues with tennis elbow. Here is a list of some of the things that cause this repetitive motion:

  • Using plumbing tools
  • Painting
  • Driving screws
  • Cutting up cooking ingredients such as meat
  • Repetitive computer mouse use
  • Cutting down trees with a chainsaw
  • Carpentry
  • Playing some types of musical instruments
  • Working on cars
  • Working on an assembly line
  • Gardening and landscaping

Sports injuries related to tennis elbow can occur in the following sports:

  • Baseball and softball
  • Bowling
  • Fencing
  • Golfing
  • Tennis, squash, pickleball, and racquetball
  • Throwing discus

What Causes Tennis Elbow?

Overuse and muscle strain injury is what make up the condition. The muscles in your forearm that you repeatedly flex to straighten and lift your hand and wrist are to blame. The tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the bone at the outside of your elbow may experience a series of small tears as a result of the repetitive motions and stress on the tissue. These tears cause inflammation and pain, and if you have a weak shoulder or your wrist muscles are weak, this can cause tennis elbow as well.

What are The Symptoms of Tennis Elbow?

The most common symptoms include but are not limited to:

  • An ache on the outside of your elbow
  • Painful to the touch on the outside of the elbow
  • Pain may travel into your forearm and wrist
  • Burning sensation in your outer elbow
  • Stiffness or pain when you extend your arm

You may feel pain when doing nothing at all, but usually, pain is triggered by particular movements. Things like turning a doorknob, gripping objects even just a cup of coffee can cause pain, and you may have tennis elbow in one or both arms.

How is Tennis Elbow Diagnosed?

When you go see your doctor for your injury, to figure out what is wrong they may apply pressure to the area or ask you to move your arm, wrist, or elbow a certain way to see if they can get a definitive diagnosis. By doing these things, most of the time they can determine the issue, however, if they cannot they may order x-rays or other types of imaging.

How is Tennis Elbow Treated?

There are things you can do at home to try and help alleviate the pain from tennis elbow.  You should avoid activities that you know cause the pain, and using ice for 15 minutes at a time and taking over-the-counter pain medications like Ibuprofen can help as well. There are braces specifically for tennis elbow, which can help relieve tension from the tendons and muscles. However, if at-home remedies don’t help, your doctor may recommend physical therapy or steroid injections.

If further treatment is required, the next steps may include injections into the painful tendon or dry needling, when the doctor puts a needle inside the tendon in multiple places. Other procedures may include extracorporeal shock wave therapy, which is when shock waves help to break up scar tissue causing blood flow to return to the damaged area, and ultrasonic tenotomy, which is when ultrasound is used to guide a needle into damaged portions of the tendon and ultrasonic energy moves the needle so quickly that the damaged tissue breaks down and can be sucked out. If pain is still present after 6-12 months, surgery may be the only option to completely alleviate tennis elbow symptoms.

About 95% of people who suffer from tennis elbow recover with non-surgical treatments. However, those who end up needing surgery for this usually see their symptoms improve within a year after their surgery. 

Complications of Tennis Elbow

Like most injuries, tennis elbow can come back if you continue to do the same activities and are not careful in how you participate in these activities.  Making sure you are doing things with proper form can help you prevent damaging the tendons in your elbow.  However, in extreme cases, a severe complication can occur when the tendons rupture which can cause extreme pain. If one does experience a rupture, this can sometimes cause a loss of function and a possible disability.

3 Main Ways to Help Alleviate or Get Rid of Tennis Elbow

In conclusion, the most common ways to get rid of tennis elbow is to rest including avoiding movements that cause you the pain, applying ice to the affected area, and taking over-the-counter medications like Ibuprofen, however, there are more options for those who feel like these solutions are not working for them. 

Do you have more questions about tennis elbow and how to relieve your pain? Fill out our appointment form here, and book your consultation today, or give us a call at (816)561-3003.

Categories: Arm & Elbow