Sometimes certain repetitive movements or overuse of arm, forearm, hand muscles and wrist may result in pain in elbow. These repetitive movements lead to a medical condition, termed as “Tennis elbow” wherein the outer portion of elbow gets inflated. This condition Tennis elbow is not restricted to tennis players and can occur in anyone who strains the forearm.
Tennis elbow can be caused either by abrupt or subtle injury of the muscle and area around the outside of the elbow. The condition of Tennis elbow is found to occur in the dominant arm (either right or left, which ever you use the most) but it can also occur in non-dominant arm, or even both.
Tennis elbow is more common among men than women. Generally people from age 30 to 50 are likely to get affected but people of any age can be affected.Tennis elbow is known to affect 1% to 3% of the population and less than 5% of all tennis elbow diagnoses are caused due to playing tennis.
The Symptoms of Tennis elbow can be:
- Slow increase in pain around the outer portion of the elbow. In rare cases, pain may also develop suddenly.
- Pain becomes worse while moving the wrist with force. Worse pain while lifting, using tools, or even handling simple utensils such as a toothbrush or knife and fork.
- Unbearable pain while shaking hands or squeezing things.
Alarming Signs of Tennis Elbow:
- Persistent pain and morning stiffness in elbow
- Outer bony part of elbow turning tender
- Unbearable pain while holding or picking up the objects
- Forearm turning sore.
Tennis elbow is not a serious problem if treated on time and can be cured, but, if left untreated for long time despite of continuous pain in elbow may lead to loss of function or motion of forearm.
There are a few home remedies you can try in case of tennis elbow:
- Rub ice over the affected area twice a day for 20 minutes. This helps in reducing inflammation and pain. Do not place the ice directly on the skin, wrap it in a towel.
- Rest the sore area regularly to prevent future injury and decrease the pain.
- Anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), aspirin, or naproxen (Aleve) are helpful in reducing pain and decreasing inflammation.
- A splint of and elbow strap can help take the pressure off the inflamed tendon.
- Exercises that increase flexibility and strength can be performed at home.
Surgery is usually the last option in case of tennis elbow but isguaranteed to relieve the pain. Patients who are advised for surgery are usually those who have had symptoms for more than 6 to 12 months and no significant improvement is observed despite of nonsurgical therapies. After 6 weeks of surgery rigorous rehabilitation activities are required to be done at home.Working with a physical therapist is required to ensure the exercises are done correctly in correct amount.
You must discuss the risks involved in the surgery with your doctor, before planning it.