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Tennis Elbow Doesn't Just Affect Athletes

Tennis Elbow Doesn't Just Affect Athletes

Athletes aren't the only ones to suffer from tennis elbow

Although lateral epicondylitis is commonly called tennis elbow, less than 5% of all cases occur in tennis players. A tendon can be damaged by activity that involves force, such as lifting, twisting, or pulling. An injury to the extensor muscles can occur immediately after performing a forceful activity, such as starting a lawnmower.

A condition known as lateral epicondylitis occurs when the forearm muscles are overused. Forearm tendons, also called extensor tendons, connect muscles to bones. The tendon attaches to the lateral epicondyle on the outside of the elbow. Tennis elbow is typically caused by a tendon called Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB). When the elbow is straight, the ECRB muscle stabilizes the wrist.

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Who is at risk of developing tennis elbow?

Those who perform repetitive tasks, including, but not limited to:

  • Tennis players
  • Plumbers
  • Painters
  • Carpenters
  • Butchers
  • Cooks
  • Dentists
  • musicians

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Tennis elbow: what is it?

Tennis elbow can start with inflammation in the area around the Lateral Epicondyle, but the current problem involves chronic changes in the extensor tendon, known as tendinosis. During tendinosis, wear and tear on the tendon causes collagen fibers to change, which makes the tendon more prone to injury. The body responds by forming scar tissue, which makes the tendon stiff and thick. A tendon that has been injured and used continually will never fully heal, leaving it weak and painful.

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How Does Tennis Elbow Feel?

A sore elbow will be the first symptom of your condition. If you do not treat the pain, it will become worse and may even radiate to your wrists and forearms. Some other symptoms include:

  • Inflammation of the lateral epicondyle (bony bump on the outer part of the elbow)
  • Having difficulty performing everyday tasks, like turning a doorknob or holding a cup of coffee
  • Having difficulty gripping
  • The wrist and hand experience more pain when you lift objects, open jars, or grip something tightly, such as a knife or fork
  • Having pain when lifting objects, especially when the elbow is straight and the palm is downward
  • Elbow stiffness
  • Around the lateral elbow, there is a burning sensation caused by activity 

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What Is the Treatment for Tennis Elbow?

At the first sign of pain, rest and ice for 10-15 minutes several times a day.

Having a licensed physical therapist perform a thorough examination can help determine the cause of the pain and develop a treatment plan.

Wearing a counterforce brace or an elbow sleeve may ease the pain if you must perform activities that cause pain. We have a wide selection of health care products to meet your needs. If you have any questions, our customer service representatives are happy to assist you.