Tennis Elbow, also called lateral epicondylitis is a term that describes soreness or pain on the outer part between the upper and fore arm. It generally occurs in adults between the ages of 40- 60 and itís most common during the 40s. One suffers from it when there is tendon damage where some of the forearm and hand muscles are linked to the upper arm bone. It affects the muscles you use when extending your wrist and fingers.
This condition is usually caused by frequent twisting movements of the hand, wrist or forearm. Improper use of equipment for work, daily activities and sports, improper use of certain hand techniques, and activities that involve repeated movements of the forearm, wrist, and fingers increases your risk of getting the condition too. These can occur in the grasping and twisting arm movements done in jobs such as carpentry or working on an assembly line or the daily activities such as lifting objects or gardening and sports such as swimming, golf etc. The symptoms usually begin gradually. The main symptom of it is pain on the outer part of the elbow which may begin with a dull aching or soreness that goes away within 24 hours after an activity. However, as time goes on, it may take more time for the pain to go away. The condition may progressively move on to pain during daily activities and also to other parts of the body like the hand, other parts of the arm, shoulder or neck. It usually occurs in the dominant arm. The arm might feel stiff in the morning and the pain may increase in the evening, and make sleep difficult. There are several treatments which includes resting your arm to allow the tendon to heal, taking pain-relief medication and wearing a forearm or sling for a few days. Applying cold or warmth to the area may help ease the pain and stiffness.
A rehabilitation exercise program can help mend the arm once the pain eases. It can help prevent injury. The rehabilitation exercises can help to make the muscles around the injured tendon stronger and more flexible. Itís advisable too to stop or change the activities that have led to the injury. This benefits the healing process greatly. Surgery is seldom needed for it.
If the symptoms don't show any signs of improvement after 6 to 8 weeks of tendon rest and rehabilitation, a corticosteroid injection is often recommended by the doctor as corticosteroids can help weaken the tendon tissue. The injection may allow you to start a rehabilitation program as it enables you a few weeks of short-term relief.
A typical case of tennis elbow needs about six to twelve months of healing; therefore one has to be patient in order for the treatment to be successful. Such injuries usually recover within a year.
We often say that prevention is better than cure. This goes the same too for tennis elbow. A thorough warm up before doing any exercise can help prepare the muscles and the tendons for the coming exercise. The muscles and tendons can be very tight and stiff without a proper warm up exercise. Having flexible muscles and tendons are important because when the muscles and tendons are flexible and supple, they will be able to move about without being overstretched. When there is limited blood flowing to the forearm area, there is a lack of oxygen and nutrients for the muscles. Therefore it will be quite easy for the muscles and tendons to be pushed beyond their limits of the natural range of movement. This results in strains, sprains and pulled muscles.
Although tennis elbow is a common hand injury, taking preventive measures and recognizing the symptoms can help prevent us to sustain permanent corresponding injuries.
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