Tennis Elbow is medically known as a lateral arm injury. Despite what the name suggests it can happen to anyone and is usually caused due to overuse and overstretching of the forearm. It is not just limited to tennis players or golfer’s as the name suggests.
The tendons that join the forearm muscle to the outer side of the elbow get affected when it comes to the tennis elbow. It becomes inflamed, swells up and tiny tears occur on the tendon which leads to the pain that we associate with the tennis elbow.
However mild it may be, sometimes it snowballs into a bigger problem requiring surgical intervention. But thankfully, most cases are resolved by medications, rest, and physiotherapy for elbow pain.
Tennis elbow, or as it is medically known- lateral epicondyle can be caused due to several reasons-
- Overuse among people who play racquet sports like tennis or squash. Repeated extension of the wrist and arm, and swinging these muscles while hitting the ball can cause a tennis elbow.
- Using hand tools
- Cutting up tough vegetables or meat
- Doing construction projects around the house
Common symptoms of tennis elbow include-
- Mild or burning pain
- Reduced range of motion in the elbow
- Discomfort while performing daily tasks
- Grip strength becomes weaker
- Difficulty sleeping due to intruding pain
Also Read: Elbow Pain: Causes, Symptoms, Treatment
The Best Treatment for A Tennis Elbow-
From physiotherapy for elbow pain to steroid injections, everyone has an interpretation of the best treatment option as each of us has different capacities and manifestations of this pain. Let us explore the variety of treatment options that are present for a tennis elbow-
- If your pain is mild and manageable, then using the RICE technique is the best treatment option for you. Resting for a day or two before resuming your activities is important as it helps your tendons recuperate and heal and repair the tears in them. Icing is an important home remedy to help with inflammation and swelling. Compression in the form of braces or swings is an important tool to help the tendons and muscles rest and recuperate. Braces exclusively designed for tennis elbows are available at any pharmacy store or sporting goods store. You may need to wear this brace for elongated periods of time, to help bring back normal function. Elevation, keeping your affected region raised for periods of time can lead to faster recovery. It encourages healthy blood flow.
- For mild cases, along with the RICE technique, NSAIDs or non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can be used to reduce pain and inflammation. These are easily available over the counter in pharmacy shops. If these treatment options do not help in reducing your pain, then you should consult with your doctor. They might order imaging tests like X-RAYs or MRI to get a closer look at your injury.
- Physiotherapy For Elbow Pain– This is a must explore option- whether you are a tennis player or an office worker. Physiotherapy for elbow pain involves a collection of muscle strengthening, movement correction, and postural correction to focus on the root of the problem. It is a very effective non-invasive technique and also a drug-free approach to treatment. It helps with bringing back your original range of motion and flexibility and devises safe plans for people with arthritis and other existing degenerative conditions.
- Steroid injections are one of the most popular treatment options if you have a severe and recurring tennis elbow injury. In certain cases, movement of the elbow becomes very painful, and this is when the doctor recommends a steroid injection. After a session of steroid injections, strict procedures are to be followed like proper rest, avoiding strain, and compressions.
- ESWT or Extra Corporeal Shock Wave Therapy uses sound waves to stimulate the muscles and expedite the body’s natural healing process. This is commonly used by sportspersons or people with regular injuries as a long-term solution for pain relief and prevention.
- A new form of treatment or therapy is PPT (platelet-rich plasma therapy). This is when the platelets from the blood of the patient are prepared that consist of healing proteins and are injected to speed up the recovery process.
- For extremely severe cases, surgery is recommended. This is when the tendon of the elbow is severely damaged and conservative approaches do not subside the symptoms even after a year or 6 months. This is truly the last resource as most patients recover after physiotherapy for elbow pain and home remedies.
Prevention is Better Than Cure
For any kind of injury, whether it is a tennis elbow or other muscle injury, prevention and movement correction techniques can help stop the recurrence of these injuries. Here are some modifications that you can make to avoid severe injuries and pain.
- Always stretch and try simple exercises to strengthen the muscles in the wrist and forearm. Do not overdo or overstretch during these exercises.
- If you are in sports like tennis or squash, ask your coach or mentor if you are using the correct racket size for your proportions. Sometimes, we may be using a heavier racket that puts extra stress on our arms.
- Always have your trainer or physiotherapist assess your forms while working out or exercising and recommend movement patterns that can put less stress on your wrist and forearm.
- Always take designated breaks from performing repetitive arm motions.
- Try simple bending and stretching exercises while at work or during strenuous activities.
- Always use simple home tools with proper grips and padding. Learn the right way to use them so you can avoid holding or gripping them so hard that it causes stress to your hand and elbow.
Also Read: Tennis Elbow: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment
Head on to Phyt Health, India’s first digital physiotherapy platform offering online physiotherapy services and consultations. With a wealth of knee exercises present on their website, you can include them in your daily life depending on your comfort level. All these exercises are curated by expert physiotherapists at Phyt Health. You can also book your online video consultation on the app, to discuss any issues you might be facing and begin your journey towards recovery!