How amazing it is that most patients, who have tennis elbow, don’t even play tennis! At rest, “Tennis Elbow” may present as a constant, dull ache located at about an inch or two below the outside of the elbow. If you try to extend your arm, the dull ache can turn into a sharp pain that can travel to other parts of your arm. Squeezing an object can increase the pain in your elbow. Writer’s cramp can actually be a part of a Tennis Elbow syndrome.
If you touch the outside of your arm, just below your elbow, the muscle may be tender and sore. A careful look may reveal swelling in this same area. These are all signs of Tennis Elbow.
The general term, Tennis Elbow, refers to inflammation of muscles of the forearm and/or the attachment of these muscles on the outside of your elbow. Through overuse or excess pulling, microscopic tears can develop within these muscles. The attachments of these muscles, the tendons, can also be overstretched and irritated. As a protective mechanism to overuse and overstretch, the muscles may also spasm. As a result, your arm will be difficult and painful to straighten.
In medical terms, then, Tennis Elbow can refer to a combination of these irritated tissues. “Lateral Epicondylitis or “Radiohumeral Bursitis” are some of these terms.
Tennis Elbow is an injury that usually develops over time. Repeated, forceful extensions of your elbow often with a turning over of your hand, are the prime motions to instigate this condition. One handed motions are more commonly aggravating. Gardening, carpentry, cooking and let’s not forget tennis, may all include repetitious motions. Even, extensive hand writing can be a problem.
Rarely, any changes on x-ray films will be noticed. Certain physical exam findings, though, can pinpoint a Tennis Elbow.
Chiropractic examination will usually determine that the elbow itself, from overstress and muscle tightness, will need to be manipulated or adjusted. Afterwards, an elbow support or bandage can relieve tension of the involved muscles.
Since muscles often become over tightened, focal spots in the muscle can increase the pain of tennis elbow. Your exam should include a search for these areas so that effective treatment can begin.
As in many conditions with inflammation, ice applied to the area will be helpful. Ice can provide relief and aid in bringing down inflammation.
Discussing treatment of Tennis Elbow should bring us back to the original cause. Don’t forget to look at what activities may have been responsible for your Tennis Elbow. Perhaps, you’ll need to change a few activities, but seek treatment for your condition so that you’ll be able to return to the court or the garden!