What is tennis elbow?
“What is tennis elbow?” is a question that I am asked regularly in day to day practice, so I decided to write this blog to help to answer a few questions.
What causes the pain in tennis elbow?
The pain in tennis elbow is generally caused by the inflammation of the tendons around the elbow. Typically this is due to either overuse or chronic underuse.
I’ve never played tennis; why do I have tennis elbow?
When people get tennis elbow it is rarely actually associated with tennis. In my years in practice it can generally be attributed to a recent increase in a certain activity. Sometimes this is something as simple as typing, waitressing or manual work such as using a screwdriver.
What symptoms do people with tennis elbow have?
Tennis elbow is characterised by pain over the outside part of the elbow. This can be felt directly over the bony part of the elbow or within the muscles in the forearm. People also often experience weakness in the arm or hand and can sometimes struggle to grip things and resort to using their less dominant hand. This is because 75% of the time the dominant hand is the arm that is affected.
What can I do to help my tennis elbow?
The best things to do to help tennis elbow:
- Rest the arm to help reduce the inflammation
- Ice the area that is painful as this will help to reduce the inflammation quicker. Remember to not put ice directly on the skin as this can cause an ice burn.
- Do not use heat in the acute phase (first three weeks or so) as this can increase the inflammation, therefore increasing discomfort.
- Light stretching can be very useful to help realign the fibres. This is performed by flexing the wrist and applying light pressure on the back of your hand with the other hand. This is done with the arm stretched out straight (see image).
- Light strengthening of the forearm once the acute pain has decreased.
- If these don’t resolve the problem completely then consult a health professional such as a chiropractor, physiotherapist or a sports massage therapist.
Most cases should clear up within 4-6 weeks however if it hasn’t then consulting a professional is advised.
If you would like to get things checked out properly or if you have any further questions, please feel free to give me a ring at the clinic on 01323 722499.
Yours in health,