Tennis Elbow And It’s Symptoms And Treatment

What is Tennis Elbow? 

Tennis elbow or medically known as lateral epicondylitis, is a repetitive strain injury that impacts the outside of the elbow, specifically, the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle of the humerus bone. It is characterized by pain and a bony bump on the outside of the elbow, and soreness in the lateral epicondyle.

Tennis elbow, despite its name, is not solely caused by playing tennis. It can be brought on by any repetitive wrist and forearm gripping or twisting activity, like playing golf, using a computer mouse or keyboard, or performing manual labour like carpentry or plumbing. Inflammation and pain are brought on by the microscopic tears that the repetitive action creates in the tendons that join to the lateral epicondyle.

What are the signs and symptoms of Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow’s main symptom is discomfort and soreness on the outside of the elbow, more specifically on the lateral epicondyle. The pain could be subtle or intense and could start off gradually or all at once. Additionally, certain behaviours, including grasping or twisting motions, may cause it to occur or make it worse. Some other symptoms include:

  1. Forearm weakness: Loss of grip power in the affected arm, making it challenging to complete tasks that call for gripping or lifting objects, is a common sign of tennis elbow.
  2. Elbow stiffness: One may experience elbow stiffness or pain, particularly after extended periods of inactivity or rest.
  3. Radiating pain: This type of pain can extend from the elbow down the forearm and wrist, making it challenging to carry out regular tasks like turning a doorknob, shaking hands, or carrying a cup.
  4. Discomfort when engaging in specific activities: Using a screwdriver or playing tennis, which both require grasping and twisting, may make the discomfort worse.
  5. Swelling or redness: On occasion, the area around the elbow joint may swell or become red.

It’s vital to remember that tennis elbow isn’t the only cause of elbow pain. Similar symptoms can also be brought on by arthritis, bursitis, and golfer’s elbow. It’s crucial to see a doctor if one or more of these symptoms are present to make a proper diagnosis.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Usually, a doctor’s physical examination is required to diagnose tennis elbow. The doctor will ask about the symptoms and medical history during the examination, and he or she might also carry out a number of tests to evaluate the function and range of motion of the affected elbow. The medical professional could additionally carry out certain diagnostic procedures, like:

  1. X-rays: X-rays can help rule out other illnesses, including a fracture or arthritis, that could be the source of symptoms.
  2. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): An MRI can produce fine-grained pictures of the soft tissues in and around the elbow, assisting in the detection of any tears or other abnormalities in the tendons or muscles.
  3. Electromyography (EMG): An EMG examination can assist in determining whether the symptoms are being caused by nerve dysfunction or injury.
  4. Ultrasound: The tendons and muscles in the elbow can be seen via ultrasound, which can be utilized to spot any abnormalities or damage.
  5. Test anaesthesia: The medical professional may occasionally administer an anaesthetic or steroid injection to the affected area as a diagnostic procedure. If the injection relieves pain, it can support the tennis elbow diagnosis.

What are the treatment options for Tennis Elbow?

Here are a few treatment options for tennis elbow:

  1. Rest and protection: Resting the damaged arm can minimize swelling and promote the healing of torn tendons. A brace or splint can be used to support the injured area while engaging in activities.
  2. Heat or ice: Ice or heat can be used to soothe pain and inflammation in the affected area. Alternately using warm and cold compresses, or whichever choice feels the most soothing, also reduces the inflammation.
  3. Use of painkillers: Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve), and acetaminophen (Tylenol), as well as over-the-counter painkillers like acetaminophen (Tylenol), can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
  4. Physical therapy and exercise: Particular stretches and exercises can help increase the flexibility and strength of the muscles and tendons of the injured arm.
  5. Steroid injections: In some circumstances, a medical professional may advise administering a steroid injection to the affected area to help lessen pain and inflammation.
  6. Surgery: Surgery is typically only advised in serious circumstances when all other options have failed. The technique includes the removal of damaged tissue and the healing of any tendon rips.

The most effective tennis elbow treatment relies on the degree of symptoms, the underlying reason for the ailment, and particular requirements and objectives. It is of utmost importance to consult your doctor to understand the cause and start with the most appropriate treatment for an early recovery.