Tennis elbow is the common term for the inflammation of the outside of the elbow due to overuse of the arm and forearm muscles. Anyone who engages in any activity that requires repeated strain and pressure on the wrist, forearm, and elbow may develop this condition.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Pain and swelling on the outside area of the elbow is a pretty good indication that you are experiencing lateral epicondylitis. Pain associated with this condition will become more severe while gripping, squeezing, or during any activity that involves extending the wrist.
Causes of Tennis Elbow
Most people who suffer from this condition are aware of what activities they engage in that increase the pain. Lateral epicondylitis is almost always caused by repeated strain on the tendons. This strain does not necessarily have to involve moving heavy objects or activities that require a strong grip. Even relatively light-weight tasks will cause inflammation if done repeatedly. Age is often a factor, as tendons lose elasticity as we get older, and are more prone to damage. Previous injury to the area may also contribute to tennis elbow.
Treating tennis elbow usually involves a period of rest from activities that cause it. This may last anywhere from a few days to several weeks depending on the severity of the symptoms. Hot/cold treatments, anti-inflammatory medication, splints and braces are typically all that is necessary. Your hand therapist will be able to help you identify the activities that aggravate your tennis elbow symptoms and can fabricate a custom brace to help immobilize and rest the area. Rarely will surgery be needed to treat tennis elbow.