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Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow, also known as Clateral Epicondylitis, is an inflammation of the outer elbow bone and the outer point of the elbow becomes very sore. It is usually associated with racket sports, but anyone can get it if they over-use their arm.

Causes

The condition is caused by over-use of the exterior tendon that originates from the lateral epicondyle (a prominent part of the bone on the outside of the elbow).

It is a common injury incurred by racket players and can be in either arm, depending on whether they are left or right-handed.

Symptoms

Pain on the outer point of the elbow

Tenderness over the lateral epicondyle

Pain when gripping something or moving the wrist especially when lifting things.

Pain when taking part in activities that use the muscles which extend the wrist, like pouring water from the kettle.

Morning stiffness in the arm and elbow.

Diagnosis

The doctor can usually diagnose Tennis Elbow by examination and talking to the patient about how the symptoms developed.

An X-ray is rarely needed but if the injury does not respond to treatment the Doctor might recommend an Ultrasound to examine the images of the soft tissues, including the muscles and tendons inside the arm.

Treatment

Rest the injured tendon by stopping the activities that caused it.

Compress. Apply a cold compress such as an ice pack or a bag of frozen peas to relieve the pain. Wrap these in a towel as ice should never be put on bare skin, it will cause a nasty burn.

Apply the compress to the elbow for 10 minutes every 2 hours. After a few days reduce this to 10 minutes twice a day.

Strap It. Strap the elbow and fore-arm to restrict the movement of the tendon and relieve the strain. Do not wear the support continuously, leave it off at night. Most major chemists sell elbow supports or you can find a selection on the website www.Returntofitness.com Tubagrip support bandage is also very good.

Painkillers. Take paraceramol to relieve the pain or anti-inflammatory drugs like Ibroprufen or Nurofen. If these do not help visit your GP and ask for stronger painkillers. As a last resort he may decide to give a cortisone injection in the elbow to dull the pain.

PREVENTION OF RE-OCCURENCE

Once the injury has properly healed, and this could take up to two months, your doctor will advise you, it is important to ensure it does not return.

Do not play sports of your arm is painful

Warm up properly to allow your muscles to warm up.

Take regular breaks.

Stop the moment you start to feel pain.

A physiotherapist can recommend exercises to strengthen your arm tendons. These can also be found on the website www.curetenniselbow.com

There are two videos on YouTube showing simple exercises you can do at home. www.youtube.com Just click on to the site and type in Tennis Elbow.

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