Tennis elbow is formally called lateral epicondylitis, and occurs as a result of many activities beyond tennis. It is the result of overuse and strain of the forearm’s muscles and tendons, especially around the elbow joint.
Symptoms of lateral epicondylitis/tennis elbow
Typically, the condition presents as pain just below the elbow in certain situations:
- When twisting the forearm, such as turning doorknobs or opening jars
- When gripping pens or small objects
- When bending or flexing the arm
Causes of tennis elbow
Typically, lateral epicondylitis is caused by overuse of the muscles of the forearm, and the tendons connecting them to the hand and wrist. This causes small tears at the sections near the lateral epicondyle (the bony bit at the outside of the elbow). These tears lead to swelling and discomfort when the tendons are stressed.
Treatment of tennis elbow
Tennis elbow will usually get better all on its own, even without special treatment. However, treatments may be desirable as they can speed recovery time and reduce symptoms dramatically. Physiotherapy may be ordered, which can involve massage and manipulation of the affected area, as well as exercises to rebuild strength without further damaging the muscles and tendons, or to prevent future recurrence.
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