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Lateral Epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow, is a condition of the elbow in which overuse of the tendons connected to the bone become inflamed and painful.
Lateral Epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow, can be caused by a number of things but is most commonly caused by repetitive use of the tendons connecting the elbow region. This makes players of racquet sports such as tennis, badminton, and squash very susceptible to the injury.
Lateral Epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow can be treated in a number of ways including anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy, and RICE. RICE stands for rest, ice, compression, and elevation.
What Is Tennis Elbow?
Lateral Epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow, is a very common injury. It affects 1% to 3% of the population and, overall, 10% to 50% of tennis players during their career. Even though this injury is usually referred to as “tennis elbow,” it can occur simply from the repeated motion of twisting your wrist and the overuse of your forearm muscles. This overuse causes tiny tears in the tendons, which ultimately results in inflammation, tenderness, and pain occurring in the bony knob on the outside of the elbow. The pain develops in this specific place since it’s where the injured tendons connect to the bone. From time to time, pain may radiate to other places, usually the upper or lower arm. Even though the damage is in the elbow, it is not unusual to hurt while doing other things with your hands.
Why Is Tennis Elbow So Common & Painful?
Seeing that tennis elbow is an injury derived from the overuse of tendons, the repetitive nature of tennis prevents the scar tissue from healing properly. Since they cannot heal properly, the tendons remain weak and painful for long periods of time. The average healing time is usually 6-12 months, depending on the case and person. If left untreated, it does not usually lead to serious problems. However, loss of motion or function of the elbow and forearm may develop. This injury is commonly seen among activities that strain the muscles around the elbow frequently. In the game of tennis, poor technique and/or gripping the racquet too tightly could increase the stress on your tendons that connect the forearm to the elbow.
How To Prevent Tennis Elbow
Physical therapy is vital. Whenever strengthening exercises are taught and learned the correct way, the likelihood of injuring yourself is lowered drastically. Exercises to specifically strengthen the forearm muscles help to a great extent when it comes to preventing this injury. You should also learn to use the shoulder and upper arm muscles to take the strain off of your elbow. Additionally, sticking to the middle range of your motion and avoiding the complete straightening of your arm can also lower your risk of injury. A few other common things like a dynamic warmup, stretching before playing, a static stretch after playing, and using a lightweight racquet could be your saving grace.
How To Recover From Tennis Elbow
In most cases, noticing symptoms and seeing a professional early is crucial for recovery. Anti-inflammatory drugs are the main source of medication used for reducing pain, other than over-the-counter ones, such as ibuprofen. Splints, tapes, and braces can all be used for support and help assist with pain relief. Even so, physical therapy for the injury also plays a part in an athlete’s recovery. However, the most important medication anyone could prescribe you is rest. Rest increases blood flow, makes your pituitary gland release more hormones that stimulate muscle growth and repair while also releasing hormones that help regulate inflammation. In addition to rest, the ICE of RICE (rest, ice, compression, and elevation) is almost as important as the R. Examples such as ice massages, muscle stimulation, and ultrasounds can all be of help to people who suffer from tennis elbow.
Exercises For Treatment & Prevention
Below is a list of 8 exercises that can aid in the relief of tennis elbow. There will also be a link below that briefly explains each exercise and how to correctly execute them.
- Wrist Turns
- Wrist Turns With Weights
- Wrist Lift, Palms Up
- Elbow Bends
- Wrist Extensor Stretch
- Wrist Extensor Flex
- Fist Squeeze
- Towel Twist
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