Tennis Elbow

A shirtless man holds his elbow in painTennis elbow, otherwise known as lateral epicondylitis, is caused by the overuse of the muscles in the arm and forearm and can lead to small tears in the connecting tendons. Although it is nicknamed after the sport that has been the leading cause of this condition, it is not restricted to only tennis players. Anyone who plays any type of racquet sport or other sports that put strain on the arm and forearm, such as bowling and baseball as well as those whose occupations require repeated use of those muscles are susceptible to this kind of muscle and tendon strain or sport injury.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

The symptoms associated with tennis elbow include differing levels of pain in elbow, swelling and inflammation in the elbow area, and difficulty lifting or moving objects with the hand. Initial treatment for this condition should involve the R.I.C.E. method of first-aid attention, immediately upon the pain or swelling occurring: rest, icing, compression and elevation. Resting the arm and elbow, icing the elbow and elevating the arm will alleviate not only the pain, but will also reduce the swelling and inflammation that will appear with this type of repetitive motion injury. Compressing the elbow with a wrap or elbow brace will immobilize the injured area until it can be seen to by a physician.

Tennis Elbow Treatment

Treatment for this kind of repetitive motion injury will include taking anti-inflammatory medication, continued use of an elbow brace and physical therapy with exercises to regain use of the arm during healing. Surgery is always considered to be a last resort when it comes to the treatment of tennis elbow, and will only be done if other treatments have no effect or the tendons or muscles are beyond healing on their own.

What you can do to Prevent Tennis Elbow

There are steps that everyone playing competitive sports can take to prevent getting injured in this way. It starts with changing how you play the sport you love. If you find that you lead with your elbow with every swing, then you need to take steps to prevent that from happening. Begin by playing with your whole body, not just your arm. By using your legs to push you forward to meet the ball, and meeting the ball in front of you instead of to the side, will help take the stress off of your arm, and protect your elbow from further injury.

Racquets come equipped with something known as a centerline and in the middle of that is a spot that reduces shock transmitted by the ball to your arm. Slowing your swing will help you to meet the ball with that centerline more often, reducing stress all over your body during play. Adjusting or changing your grip can help to accomplish this as well.

Does it hurt to pick up your favorite racquet, let alone swing it? Don’t let tennis elbow prevent you from indulging in your favorite sport. Our caring professionals at Lakeland Spine Center will give you their expert diagnosis and have you out on the courts as soon as possible with the right treatment for your pain.