Lateral epicondylitis, which is the medical name for tennis elbow, is a condition wherein the tendon in the upper arm develops a tear due to repeated motions. This is a very painful condition and can make your daily life difficult. It usually tends to affect your dominant arm i.e. the arm that you use the most.
Who does it affect and why does it happen?
As mentioned earlier, tennis elbow occurs due to repetitive similar movements of the elbows, forearms and wrists over a prolonged period. The common name for this condition came due to repeated occurrences with tennis players although it can happen to players of other sports as well as people in other profession too. Some of the people who are most susceptible to this could be from the following fields:
- Sporting activities such as squash, tennis, fencing, cricket and many other sports where repeated arms movements are required.
- Musicians playing certain instruments
- Knitting work
- Chefs and waiters
- Road and construction workers
- A slow exacerbation of pain over a period and gradual worsening can be a major symptom.
- In certain cases, the pain may manifest suddenly which will make any movement very difficult.
- Moving your arm may become very difficult, especially during any up or down movement of the arm.
- In some cases, the pain may be experienced only when shaking objects or actions wherein squeezing or hard gripping is required.
- Performing daily activities such as a tooth brush, trying to open jars or even trying to use a knife or fork can get extremely difficult.
How it can be treated?
Most treatment methods include keeping the elbow in a resting position and giving it time to heal automatically. However, some medication may also be given to relieve pain and quicken healing. Some of these are mentioned below.
- Elbow straps: These fix the elbow in a comfortable position and don’t allow it to move helping it heal on its own.
- Ice treatment : This is the most common home treatment prescribed to relieve pain. You can use homemade icepacks or even buy gel pack, which can then be held against the area to relieve pain.
- Painkillers: Ibuprofen and aspirin can be used to lessen the pain, although it is advisable to consult your doctors first.
- Various physical therapies: Physiotherapy, acupuncture or specific doctor recommended exercises could be done to not only relieve pain but also quicken healing and to strengthen the tendons and the muscles of that area.
In case you have a concern or query you can always consult an expert & get answers to your questions!