Tennis elbow / lateral epicondylitis is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in your elbow are overloaded, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm.
Despite its name, athletes aren’t the only people who develop tennis elbow / lateral epicondylitis. People whose jobs feature the types of motions that can lead to tennis elbow include plumbers, painters, carpenters and butchers.
The pain of tennis elbow occurs primarily where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to a bony bump on the outside of your elbow. Pain can also spread into your forearm and wrist.
Rest and over-the-counter pain relievers often help relieve tennis elbow / lateral epicondylitis. Tennis elbow treatments may include physical therapy, stretching, a forearm strap, and steroid injections. If conservative treatments have failed after 6 to 12 months, you may be faced with surgery to debride/scrape the damaged tissue from the tendon or a single treatment of Orthowave® High-energy Shockwave Therapy, the FDA approved non-invasive alternative to surgery.
Rest and ice are some of the best treatments for healing tennis elbow when the injury first occurs. You can also take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen, naproxen, or aspirin to help with pain and swelling. Physical therapy is usually effective but severe cases of tennis elbow may require surgery or High-energy Shockwave Therapy.
Tennis elbow is usually caused by overuse of the muscles and tendons in your forearm. This is caused by repetitive or strenuous activity that causes tears and inflammation near the outside of your elbow. Activities like tennis, throwing sports, or even the excessive use of scissors or typing can cause tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow is obviously not fatal, however, if left untreated it can develop into a more severe condition with increased pain and potential loss of motion or function. It is recommended to treat tennis elbow with conservative methods when it is first noticed. Untreated cases that become severe may require surgery or High-energy Shockwave Therapy.
In the beginning, pain is only noticed when lifting or gripping things. However, if tennis elbow becomes severe, the pain can become constant. Unfortunately, mild tennis elbow often goes untreated and overtime becomes more severe.
Stretching can help tennis elbow along with strengthen the affected muscle and tendons. Stretching also helps by preventing elbow stiffness and tendon shortening. The wrist flexor stretch is one of the stretching exercises that can help with tennis elbow. Extend the injured arm in front of you with the palm up. Then bend your wrist, pointing your hand towards the floor. With the other hand, gently bend your wrist further until you feel a slight stretch in your forearm. You can hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and repeat several times. You can also do the wrist extensor stretch by doing the same things as the wrist flexor stretch, but by beginning with your extended hand palm down.