You can be diagnosed with a tennis elbow even if you have never been on a tennis court! A tennis elbow refers to tendinitis or swelling of the tendons in the elbows and arms. Tough tissue bands that join the muscles of the arm to the bone are known as tendons. This affliction is one of the most common reasons for elbow pain and can affect men and women at any age. However, it is most commonly seen in patients who are around 40 years old.
Tennis elbow develops gradually and is triggered by repetitive motions that strain the muscles or put too much pressure on the tendons such as sports that involve swinging a racquet, weight lifting or hobbies like carpentry, knitting, typing or painting.
Most cases of tennis elbow resolve themselves with time as long as you rest the elbow and give your tendons a break. Some things you could do to speed up the healing process are:
Soak the elbow in an ice bath for half an hour every 3 to 4 hours. This should help relieve the pain and reduce swelling.
Use an elbow strap to support the arm and prevent further strain in the injured tendon.
Exercising the arm to reduce stiffness and increase the possible range of motions. This will also make your tendons more flexible. However, exercises should be done only under a physiotherapist’s guidance so as to prevent any further damage. Additionally, your doctor may also suggest physiotherapy, to strengthen and stretch the arm muscles.
Over the counter, anti-inflammatory medicines such as ibuprofen or aspirin can also help reduce the pain and swelling. These drugs should not be used without a doctor’s guidance as they can cause a number of side effects. In some cases, these side effects can slow down the healing process.
Painkiller or steroid injections may also be prescribed to temporarily ease the pain and swelling around the elbow.
In some cases of severe tennis elbow, these forms of treatment may not be effective and if you are still suffering from pain and swelling for over 4 months, you may need to consider surgery. Surgery for tennis elbow involves removing the damaged section of the tendon and repairing the remaining part.
Recovery from a tennis elbow may seem slow but it is essential to be patient and avoid lifting weights or putting any strain on the arm during recovery. Once the swelling has completely gone down and you feel no pain or tenderness in the area, only then should begin using your arm normally. Consult an Expert & get answers to your questions!