Written and reviewed by
MBBS, MS - Orthopaedics
Orthopedic Doctor, Delhi
(Syn. Lateral, Epicondylitis)
Technically Tennis Elbow is a misnomer, since most often it occurs in non tennis players. Less than 5% of patients of tennis elbow play tennis (Ludwig Ombregt et al)
Tennis elbow is a clinical condition where patient feels pain on the outer side of elbow while attempting to lift any object with palm facing downwards but the same act can be done with the palm facing upwards. Pain is also produced in any rotatory movement at the wrist e.g. opening a tap or wringing the clothes.
This is due to the internal swelling (inflammation) on the outside (Lateral Side) of the lower end of arm bone (Humerus, Lateral Epicondyle). It is at this place that all the muscles of the fore arm that lift the wrist upwards (Common Extensors) are attached. Any attempt to move these muscles cause pain.
Tennis Elbow is usually caused by a direct hit on the lateral epicondyle. Other diseases like Koch’s or metastatic deposits should be ruled out. Sometimes Cervical Spondylosis may present as tennis elbow. It is more common in diabetic and obese people.
Treatment is simple.
Diabetes must be ruled out and controlled.
Avoid painful acts and activities.
Fomentation with warm water or paraffin wax bath helps.
Pressure bandage during the day gives relief; it should be avoided at night as it can cause swelling of the fore arm.
Non steroid, anti inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) have a definite role to play in the management of tennis elbow they take away pain and swelling at the common extensor origin. There is effect is potentiated by anti oxidants like omega three fatty acids, methyl, cobalamine and other vitamin supplements.
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