Tennis elbow is defined as a condition which triggers pain or discomfort around the exterior of the elbow. The condition often develops after engaging in strenuous misuse of the tendons and muscles of the forearm near the elbow joint.
What are the signs?
In most cases, there is discomfort or tenderness:
- On the exterior of the upper forearm, right beneath the flexing point of the elbow
- When bending or lifting the arm
- When holding small objects
- When twisting the forearm such as opening a jar or turning a door handle
There is also difficulty in fully extending the arm.
What are the causes?
The elbow joint is bordered by muscles responsible for moving the elbow, wrist and the fingers. The tendons in the elbow link the muscles and bones together and control the forearm muscles.
Tennis elbow is brought about by overexertion of the muscles linked to the elbow and utilized in straightening the wrist. Once the tendons and muscles are strained, miniature tears and inflammation might arise close to the bony lump on the exterior of the elbow.
Management of tennis elbow
As a self-limiting condition, it eventually settles without requiring treatment. Nevertheless, there are treatment options that can help improve the symptoms and hasten the recovery.
- The affected arm must be allowed to rest and stop any activity responsible for the condition.
- Apply a cold compress on the injured elbow for a few minutes several times throughout the day to lessen the discomfort.
- Pain medications such as paracetamol can be given to reduce minor pain. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen can help lessen the inflammation.
- Physiotherapy might be suggested for severe and persistent cases. Massage and manipulation of the affected area can alleviate the stiffness and pain as well as improve the range of arm movement.
- Surgical intervention is usually the last option to remove the injured region of the tendon.
In most cases of tennis elbow, it generally lasts between 6 months up to 2 years. Nevertheless, complete recovery can be achieved within a year.