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Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a condition that produces pain on the outside of the elbow and upper forearm. It is particularly noticeable when bending your arm, gripping small objects or twisting your wrist. It is an overuse injury caused by straining the muscles and tendons of your forearm.

Tennis Elbow Diagram

As the name suggests, tennis elbow is sometimes caused by playing racquet sports. However, it is more often caused by other activities that place repeated stress on the forearm and elbow joint, such as decorating, carpentry, assembly – line production or playing the violin.

Tennis elbow can get better by itself without treatment but this may take some months. To improve the situation you should try to stop doing the activities that strain your muscles. If this is not possible because the cause is unavoidable (work) then try to modify your actions or wear an elbow brace for support.

Regularly icing the painful area throughout the day can reduce the pain and inflammation as can Ibuprofen gel. Massage will improve the blood flow and relax the muscles to reduce pain and speed up healing. Strengthening exercises should be performed to make sure that the problem does not re-occur. A physiotherapist or rehabilitation specialist will be able to help with these.

If the problem was caused by a sporting activity, you should get your equipment and technique checked before returning to playing. If the overuse is caused by work then you can work with your employer to adjust your workstation, use different tools or take more breaks until the situation is resolved.