Tennis elbow is a term for the pain that appears on the outer elbow. Although it may potentially spread to the lower arm to the wrist, this pain tends to occur in places where the tendons of the forearm muscles are attached to the protruding bone on the outside of the elbow. The tendon is a connective tissue that attaches muscle to bone. In the medical world, this condition is known as lateral epicondylitis and generally occurs due to excessive use of the elbow. This will cause the elbow muscles to experience excessive tension resulting in tears and inflammation.
Tennis Elbow Symptoms
Pain is the main symptom of tennis elbow. Types of pain that generally signify this condition in the form of pain that appears:
- On the outer side of the middle arm (precisely under the elbow) which sometimes spreads up to the wrist.
- When lifting something.
- When bending the hand.
- When shaking hands, writing, or grasping small objects, like a pencil.
- When doing a circular motion, for example when turning the door knob or open the lid of the jar.
- When straightening hands.
This condition rarely leads to serious health problems. However, you are encouraged to see your doctor if you experience symptoms that get worse or do not get better.
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Causes and Risk Factors Tennis Elbow
In general, the cause of tennis elbow is the excessive use of the elbow with repetitive twisting of the arm. The activity will burden the tendons attached to the elbow. Starts on a small tear to trigger an inflammation on the outside of the elbow.
As the name implies, tennis athletes or those who often play tennis have a risk to get tennis elbow. Usually experienced by people aged 40 years or older. These tennis elbows may also be suffered by persons who perform work or activities with improper equipment and use such as: painters, gardeners, or carpenters who use screwdrivers.
Diagnosis of Tennis Elbow
The condition of tennis elbow can generally be detected by asking for symptoms, medical history, and physical examination of the patient. The patient's elbow condition will be carefully evaluated through a series of movements.
If a physical condition check is not enough or suspects other causes, the doctor may recommend some more detailed examinations to confirm the diagnosis. For example through X-ray procedures , CT scans, and MRI scans .
Treatment and Prevention of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is a disease that will gradually improve on its own and without special medical treatment. Duration of recovery for tennis elbow generally takes weeks or even months. A number of steps that can generally be done include:
- Avoid activities that will burden the elbow muscles . Especially the activities that trigger tennis elbow, such as lifting weights and sports that use hands that suffer excessively.
- Take painkillers (analgesics) , such as paracetamol or ibuprofen .
- Reduce the pressure on the elbow muscles by wrapping them with a special retaining cloth that can be bought freely at sporting goods stores.
- Perform physiotherapy with therapist guidance . This procedure is only recommended for patients with severe symptoms or not getting better even though it is handled alone at home.
- Accepting corticosteroid injections to reduce pain. However, this procedure is only recommended for the short term.
- Underwent shock therapy to reduce the severity of the pain and stimulate painful muscle movements.
- Underwent surgery to remove damaged muscle. This is the last alternative treatment recommended by doctors.
- Avoid excessive use of elbow with tennis elbow.
- Choose a racket or light work tools so that it does not overload the elbow.
- Use a special retaining cloth to prevent tennis elbow while exercising (especially tennis or badminton).
- Increases muscular strength of the forearm with the help of a physiotherapist.