Tennis elbow or tennis elbow lateral epicondylitis is a common ailment among tennis players but it doesn't only stress them. It is caused by the overuse of the muscles in the forearm, specifically located at the outside part of the elbow. The inflammation resulting from this condition causes pain on the outside part of your elbow where you feel a throbbing sensation that can shoot up to your forearm.
Many renowned researchers said that tennis elbow is estimated to affect 1-3% of the adult population. When you use a particular muscle more often than others, it becomes thicker and stronger than the other underused muscles in your body. Then, when you stop using the muscle it becomes more susceptible to injury. The muscles of your forearm that are most subjected to overuse during tennis include extensor carpi radialis brevis and flexor carpi radialis.
These two muscles control movements in which your hand moves away from your body or towards it. These motions happen when you are playing tennis.
Due to this, it is not surprising that the most common activities that develop the tennis elbow are those of manual labor and sports wherein your hand moves away from your body.
Signs and Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Symptoms of tennis elbow include pain, especially when you are trying to lift or grip something. Some other symptoms may include:
- Tenderness at the outside part of your elbow
- Pain that gets worse with use and better with rest
- Stiffness after sleeping in a certain position
- Shooting pain along the outside of your forearm
- Numbness and tingling in your forearm
What Are The Best Treatments for Tennis Elbow
The treatment options vary. It depends on the severity of the tennis elbow and the patient's preference. Every treatment option aims to relieve or reduce pain, inflammation and keep the damage from worsening.
You can treat yourself with home remedies but if you have severe tennis elbow then an option that must be considered is to consult your doctor.
Physical Therapy Exercises
One option is to use heat and cold therapy. It aims to reduce pain and inflammation caused by the tennis elbow. You can really do this at home with a hot or cold pack of towels wrapped around your elbow.
The heat will increase blood flow in the affected area while the cold will decrease it, thus reducing inflammation.
Tennis elbow physical therapy exercises may include a combination of rotation and resistance movements that focus on the wrist, forearm, and shoulder muscles.
These exercises can help prevent the tennis elbow from coming back by strengthening the affected muscle group so it will be able to handle regular use in your daily activities.
Steroid Injection or Surgery
Another option in the treatment of tennis elbow is to inject corticosteroids into the affected muscles or tissues. These steroids help reduce pain and inflammation, but their effects are only temporary.
Surgery may be considered if non-surgical treatments don't work for you. In this case, your doctor will remove part of the bone at your elbow joint, which is the common site of the problem.
After surgery, you may need to do a physical therapy program before you can completely recover from the tennis elbow.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) like ibuprofen and naproxen help reduce pain and inflammation in tennis elbows. Moreover, your doctor may also prescribe you other drugs to ease your pain.
How Do You Fix Tennis Elbow
The muscles in your forearm are called extensors and flexor. When you lift something with your hand, these two muscles play a vital role in how strong the grip is. Without regular stretching and strengthening of the muscles through exercise or physical therapy, they can become prone to injury.
Your best option for treatment to tennis elbow is prevention. You should try these exercises to strengthen the muscles in your forearm so they can be more resistant and avoid injury later on.
In a sitting or standing position, grasp a towel with both hands. Keep your arms parallel to the floor as you do this. Then squeeze as hard as you can until the towel falls from your hand.
Flex your wrist and point your fingers to make them touch each other while keeping your palms facing down towards the ground. Then, grab a towel and stretch it as though you are trying to reach something far away.
Make a triangle shape with your hand by placing the thumb on top of the index finger and holding them together. Keep this position for 20 seconds and repeat 2 times. This will help strengthen the muscles in your forearm that are required to turn your wrist.
You can rub your forearm muscles with a tennis ball. This will help you relax and loosen up the muscle to help increase its flexibility. Make sure that you do it slowly and gently because too much pressure might cause injury instead of relief.
You can do wrist flexion by grasping something with your hand and keeping your palm facing upwards. Then, you should move it back so that your fingers are pointing towards the ground. Doing this 3-4 times a day is beneficial to athletes who need to strengthen their forearm muscles.
Flex your wrist and point it upwards. Then, while keeping a grip on something, move your hand in front of you. Many people who experience tennis elbow have difficulty doing this type of exercise so they should consult their doctor first to see if it is safe for them to do it or not.
Prevention of Tennis Elbow
Since tennis elbow is caused by too much stress on the muscles and tendons in the forearm, it may be helpful to try some of these techniques for prevention.
- Avoid gripping or lifting things with your hand. Switching from a squeeze grip to a hook grip can also help prevent injuries because this type of grip reduces pressure and the risk of injury.
- Rest: It is important to remember that you should not push yourself too hard when doing these exercises. If it hurts, relax and rest for a while before trying again. In addition, warm up first before exercising to prevent getting injured from sudden movements. Wear comfortable clothes without restricting your movement.
- Avoid excessive tennis or racquet sports. These types of activities are a major cause of tennis elbow injuries as they stress the muscles in your forearm with regular impacts and movements.
- Wear a strap on your hand so it can support the tennis elbow and reduce the tension on your forearm.
- Another effective way to prevent tennis elbow is to wear a brace that provides support instead of restricting movement.
Frequently Asked Questions on Tennis Elbow
Question: I have developed pain in my forearm that radiates to my wrist when I play tennis. What is causing this?
Answer: Tennis elbow is a common condition that results from the stress exerted on the muscles and tendons in your forearm when you play tennis. The pain may also spread to your fingers and wrist.
Question: How do I treat my tennis elbow using over-the-counter medications?
Answer: Take ibuprofen or naproxen to reduce pain and inflammation. Use heat therapy like a hot towel or heating pad to relax the nerves around your elbow.
See a physical therapist who will treat your tennis elbow by strengthening the muscles in your forearm.
Question: How can I prevent tennis elbow from happening to me?
Answer: Avoid gripping or lifting things with your hand. Switching from a squeeze grip to a hook grip can also help prevent injuries because this type of grip reduces pressure and the risk of injury.
Question: Does more playing time put you at a higher risk of developing tennis elbow?
Answer: Yes, tennis elbow is more common among people who play racquet sports. The exact cause of this condition is still unknown, but it's most likely because of inflammation that develops in your forearm muscles as a result of excessive stress from repetitive motion.
Question: I'm suffering from tennis elbow again. What can I do?
Answer: If you're having a flare-up of the tennis elbow, you should first try to rest your affected arm. Avoid lifting anything heavy or doing repetitive motions for that arm like writing with a pen, combing your hair, etc.
Question: What happens if the tennis elbow goes untreated?
Answer: Possible complications of tennis elbow include staph infections and the possibility of permanent damage to the tendons in your forearm. If you have a severe case, surgery will be necessary to remove damaged tissues and repair any tears.
Products To Treat Tennis Elbow
A short, flexible bar that’s held between both hands and then twisted or bent to create safe, consistent muscle and joint strength, our elbow therapy tool can help relieve pain, reduce recovery time, and give you the grip strength and range of motion you need to be at your physical best.
Did you know that a tennis elbow can take up to a year to heal? Exerting excess pressure on ...
If you suffer from tennis elbow, one way to improve flexibility in your wrist, elbow, and forearm is to try stretching on a regular basis. However, simply stretching isn’t going to be nearly as effective for improving flexibility as using the DMoose tennis elbow bar.
Our high-quality physical therapy tool features a patented unique design that provides you with additional resistance when twisting and bending. Simply put, this means more of a stretch for your elbow and fingers.
DMoose Tennis elbow brace is also ideal for anyone who suffers from arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or a history of tendonitis and needs to bring their grip strength back up to par.
Tennis elbow brace is also ideal for anyone who suffers from arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, or a history of tendonitis and needs to bring their grip strength back up to par.
Watch this video below to see how you can do the flexbar exercise.
To conclude this article, tennis elbow can be a terrible thing that comes from playing tennis for extended periods of time and it may follow you to other activities.
However, there are ways to prevent tennis elbow that include not overdoing certain activities like lifting or gripping with the hand too much whether while doing chores around the house or at work.
Additionally, you can also purchase a flexbar that allows you to get the right amount of resistance for your forearm muscles and wrist to help prevent tennis elbow. This is done by bending or twisting it while holding the bar in both hands like you would with a chewy candy bar.
Finally, if the tennis elbow does strike again you can always go see a physical therapist.