What Is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a painful but often manageable, condition. Working with your primary care physician, it’s often possible to relieve the pain of tennis elbow and prevent future recurrence without surgery.
Tennis elbow is a condition caused by overworking of certain muscles in the arm. The affected muscles are the extensor muscles, which run along the outside of the forearm from the wrist to the little bump on the outside of your elbow. When you use these muscles often and forcefully, you can cause tears in the tendons, which connect the muscles to the bone. These tears cause the pain. Inflammation is caused when your body sends special cells and compounds to heal the tears.
If you continue to use the affected muscles to the same extent, you will get new tears, a worsening of pain, and more inflammation.
Tennis elbow can be caused by playing tennis or other sports that put stress on the extensor muscles, but these days most people who get it are people who use these muscles often at work, such as plumbers, carpenters, or painters.
There is a similar condition, called golfer’s elbow, which affects the muscles on the inside of your elbow. Although the causes and symptoms are different, both can be approached using the same treatments.
The Proper Approach to Tennis Elbow
There are many potential treatments for tennis elbow. However, the best treatment is usually very minor. You should rest your arm to take stress off the wounded tendons and take medication and use heat and cold to help keep pain under control. Giving your body time to heal is often all that’s necessary.
If your body doesn’t heal, surgery may be recommended.
Preventing Tennis Elbow
The best way to deal with tennis elbow is to prevent it. You can talk to your doctor about proper form, but if you think your work puts you at risk, talk to your employer about preventive strategies. Chances are, they don’t want to risk a worker’s compensation claim and will put you (and your coworkers) in touch with someone who can teach proper techniques that prevent tennis elbow.
If you have suffered tennis elbow and would like a doctor’s opinion in Littleton, please contact Dr. Andy Fine today for an appointment.