Tennis elbow is an injury you can sustain even if you’re not a tennis player or have never played the game at all. This type of tendinitis, which pertains to the swelling of tendons, causes pain in the arm and elbow. It occurs when the ligaments connecting your forearm muscles to your elbow’s bones become inflamed.
Tennis elbow is one of the most common reasons players visit their doctors. If you are scheduling an appointment with a general physician in Des Moines, IA for the same reason, here’s what you need to know.
What Causes Tennis Elbow?
This condition often develops over time. Repetitive motions, such as gripping a racket during a swing, strain the muscle. It, in turn, puts excessive stress on your tendons, and the constant tugging results in microscopic tears in your tissue.
Tennis elbow can also be a result of the following activities:
- Weight lifting
You are also prone to a tennis elbow if you often perform activities that require repetitive arm movement. These can include the following:
What are the Symptoms of a Tennis Elbow?
Common symptoms of a tennis elbow are tenderness and pain in the bony knob outside of your elbow. This knob houses the injured tendons that connect to your bone. You might also experience pain in your lower or upper arm. While most of the damage centers in your elbow, you’re likely to experience pain when doing activities with your hands.
You’ll experience pain when you also do the following:
- Shake hands
- Open a door
- Lift something
- Grip an object
- Straighten your wrist
- Raise your hand
To diagnose your condition, visit a doctor for a physical exam. During the examination, they will ask you to flex your wrist, arm, and elbow to see the source of pain. They may also require you to take imaging tests, such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or X-ray, to diagnose a tennis elbow.
Treating Tennis Elbow
Fortunately, a tennis elbow heals on its own. You have to give your elbow a break or do some remedies to speed up the healing. Consider the following treatments:
- Use an elbow strap. Elbow straps can protect your injured tendon from further straining.
- Ice your elbow. Icing reduces swelling and pain. Some doctors recommend doing it for 20 to 30 minutes every three to four hours for three days or until the pain is gone.
- Take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory (NSAIDs) medication. NSAIDs like naproxen, ibuprofen, or aspirin can also help with the pain and swelling. Use these medications occasionally to prevent side effects, such as ulcers and bleeding.
- Get physical therapy. Doing so can help stretch and strengthen your muscles.
- Perform a range of motion exercises. Increase flexibility and reduce stiffness with a series of motion exercises.
- Ask for an injection of painkillers or steroids. These injections can temporarily ease some of the pain and swelling around your joints.
Tennis elbow need not compromise your daily living. Instead of enduring the pain, see your doctor immediately.