All You Need To Know About Tennis Elbow
You don’t have to be a tennis player to be susceptible to tennis elbow, an injury that produces pain around the outside of the elbow. It is said that one in three people will suffer from it at one point in their lives, which is most likely to occur between the ages of 40 and 60. Although this is an injury that can happen to either arm, it is most likely to affect a person’s dominant arm.
There are a number of symptoms that are attained with tennis elbow with the severity of the injury being wide-ranging. Patients often complain of:
- Pain that gradually intensifies around the outside of the elbow
- Pain that tends to be more severe upon muscle contraction, for example shaking hands or grasping objects
- An individual may experience more pain when lifting, or even simple handling simple objects such as cutlery
People Most Likely to Get Tennis Elbow
Despite tennis players most likely to fall victim to tennis elbow, it can affect anybody who is involved in sport or who partakes in leisure or work activities that entails regular movements of the elbow, arm and wrists. Racquet sports are often the main reason for contracting tennis elbow. Although the exact cause of it is unknown, it is widely believed that it is due to the small tendon tears that connect the forearm muscles to the lateral epicondyle, which is the bony outside part of the elbow. One of the greatest difficulties of tennis elbow is that everyday tasks, such as merely opening a jar, aggravate the injury even further.
Ways To Treat Tennis Elbow
Just like many other injuries, tennis elbow can be healed by the body’s healing properties. However, it is crucial that you fully rest the affected arm until it is pain-free and manageable:
- To decrease swelling and pain, icing the elbow can help. It is recommended to wrap the ice in a towel beforehand to prevent burns on the skin. NHS guidelines state that this should be done for a few minutes several times a day.
- Using painkillers such as paracetamol.
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin. Although take note, there is a possibility that NSAIDs can upset the stomach so make sure to consume them as guided by your GP.
- Daily exercises to improve flexibility.
- Physiotherapy to improve muscle strength.
In most cases, the treatments above will help to cure tennis elbow. On the other hand, if your body does not respond successfully to these treatments within 2-4 months, surgery may be your only option. An operation will almost indefinitely cure you of tennis elbow, with statistics estimating it to work in 80-90% of the cases.
How Long Will It Take For Me To Recover From Tennis Elbow?
The rate of recovery varies from each person and is dependent on the extent of the damage done to the tendon in addition to a number of physiological factors. People recover at different speeds. It is important to be patient with recovery and not to rush it. Returning to strenuous activities too soon can be detrimental since it will only facilitate further damage to your elbow.
Knowing when to revert back to your regular routine can be tricky, but using these guidelines should give you some guidance. You are ready when:
- You can grip objects without causing pain to your elbow.
- Your elbow isn’t swollen.
- You can feel that the injured elbow is at the same level of strength as the other one.
Preventing Tennis Elbow
The most important thing is to listen to your body. If you can feel pain in your elbow, then stop whatever activity it is that you think is contributing to the condition. In addition, there is a possibility that you are using the wrong equipment, for example, the golf club or tennis racket is too big or too heavy. Having poor technique or form in some of these sports can also supplement further damage.
People With Tennis Elbow
By and large, 90-95% of people with tennis elbow will make a full recovery providing that they follow a treatment plan prescribed to them by a doctor or a specialist. However, around 5% of people will not recover from conservative treatment and will be required to get surgery to make a full recovery.