Tennis Elbow

What is tennis elbow?

“Tennis” elbow also known as Lateral Epicondylitis, is a condition that is due to the overuse of the muscles in one’s forearm. The repetitive stresses of certain activities can cause injury to the muscles and tendons around the elbow. Of course one of the most common activities that can cause the condition is playing tennis! More specifically, too many backhand swings. Some other activities that can cause the condition include: painting, using a screw driver, or even too many hours of typing.

What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?
  • A sharp or dull aching pain on the outside portion of your elbow.
  • Pain is aggravated with tight gripping activities, such as shaking hands or opening a jar.
  • And, the pain will worsen with increased use of your affected arm with daily tasks including holding a cup of coffee, brushing your teeth, or using a fork.

The goals of treatment are to reduce pain or inflammation, promote healing, and decrease stress and abuse on the injured elbow.

The preferred treatment for an acute episode of tennis elbow is as follows:
  1. Rest your arm and wrist for a few days. Your wrist can achieve rest by using a supportive splint. The splints which can be purchased at most drug stores is used either during the activities that have been aggravating the symptoms or it can be used during sleeping.
  2. It is also recommended that an individual help decrease the inflammation associated with the condition by taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication and using ice. Ask your physician to recommend proper dosage of anti-inflammatory medication to use. Ice can be use 2 to 3 times per day for 10 minutes during each use. A gentle ice massage over the specific area of pain may be of most benefit.

Persistent elbow pain may require more specific treatment including deep friction massage of the affected muscle group, stretching exercises, and education on how to minimize the wear and tear to your arm during daily tasks.

Contact your physician should you have more questions regarding tennis elbow.