If you’re an avid tennis or other racquet-sport player and you’ve experienced a nagging pain in your elbow at any point in the past, chances are high it may have been lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow. This bothersome overuse condition, which can occur at any age but is usually seen in adults over 40, is the most common reason people see a physician for elbow pain.
The culprit of tennis elbow is overuse, and while the motions of racquet sports like tennis are largely influential in its progression, any activity that involves repetitive and vigorous use of the forearm muscle can lead to the condition. Therefore, people with occupations that consist of gripping or static positioning of the wrist in an extended position for prolonged periods of time, and those with computer jobs, as well as plumbers, painters and carpenters are all at an elevated risk for developing tennis elbow.
The lateral epicondyle is the bony bump on the outside of the elbow. In the process of overuse, the muscle in that region gets weakened, which eventually leads to microscopic tears developing in the tendon that attaches to the lateral epicondyle. Symptoms such as pain, a burning sensation in the outer part of the elbow and weakened grip strength develop gradually and are worsened by activities that involve the forearm.
The good news for patients with tennis elbow is it usually heals on its own with some basic remedies, with approximately 80-95% of patients having successful outcomes with non-surgical treatment. Here, Advanced Rehab Solutions walks you through some of the most important interventions to manage tennis elbow:
- Rest your elbow and lay off any task that may have caused your pain
- If you think tennis or another racquet sport was responsible, get your equipment checked to ensure it’s the proper size and fit for you
- Try using a brace over the back of your forearm to reduce symptoms
- Ice your elbow for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for a few days if your elbow is swollen, red or throbbing at rest
- Occupational therapy is also considered to be extremely effective for treating tennis elbow: programs generally include stretching and strengthening exercises to improve range of motion and flexibility, and reduce stiffness
If you happen to be experiencing any of the symptoms of tennis elbow or if you have any other recurring pain anywhere else, come see us at Advanced Rehab Solutions in Springfield, NJ, where we’ll be glad to design a program that’s right for you to get you back to normal. Call us at 973-379-7006 for more information or to schedule an appointment.