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Tennis Elbow

What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is often used as a nickname for the condition lateral Epicondylitis. This is the inflammation of the tendons that attach to a bony bit on the outer elbow. This is caused by a repetitive stress of the area as opposed to a sudden injury, which is why it is common amongst tennis players who use repetitive motions of the arm and wrist.

The pain from tennis elbow is often described as a slow increasing pain focused around the outside of the elbow, and sometimes even a burning sensation. This results in a weak grip strength which is not only problematic on the court, but also in everyday life as shaking hands and squeezing objects can become extremely painful.

If left for an extended period of time, lateral Epicondylitis can develop into a chronic pain.

Do I have tennis elbow?

As there are a variety of injuries that your elbow can suffer from it may be worthwhile consulting your local GP to analyse whether you have tennis elbow or a different injury.

If you consult your GP, they may perform a physical exam depending on the pain description you provide to them. To test if you have tennis elbow, they could ask you to straighten your wrist and fingers against some resistance (whilst keeping a straight arm) to see if it causes any pain.

How is lateral Epicondylitis treated?

As tennis elbow results from repetitive stress on the outer elbow, it is important to first and foremost rest.  This may require tennis players to stop their participation for several weeks.

It is also important to ice the injury. As the pain results from the inflammation, this can be minimised by reducing the inflammation of the outer elbow. The inflammation may also be reduced by taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as Ibuprofen. In addition to this, your GP may recommend an elbow brace in order to reduce the stress on the muscle and tendons. The Bodymedics Air Pouch Tennis Elbow Brace is specifically designed to help with tennis elbow by supporting and protecting the elbow and forearm.

If the pain from the lateral Epicondylitis persists, I may be worthwhile consulting your GP about anti-inflammatory medication such as cortisone to reduce the swelling.

Once the pain has subsided, it may be worthwhile to consult your GP or a physical therapist about specific strengthening exercises for the forearm. It could also be beneficial to consult a tennis professional about your equipment and form. For example, they may recommend a looser strung racquet as it can decrease the stress on the forearm.

However, if non-surgical treatment has proved un-responsive at around 6 months to a year, your GP may sit you down and discuss the possibility of surgery to cure your tennis elbow. The surgery would include removing the ‘diseased’ muscle and replacing it with a healthier muscle.

Personal experience

If you have suffered from lateral Epicondylitis in the past then why not like us on Facebook and start a discussion about the best exercises and stretches you have used for the rehabilitation, or even if you have learnt any tricks from the tennis professional that could help others prevent the condition in the future.

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