What Is Tennis Elbow?

What Causes Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is a common injury particularly amongst sports athletes including tennis, badminton, squash, table tennis, which involves using a racquet.

However it’s not limited to just athletes and racquet sports. It can be from overuse such as manual labour using a screwdriver or repetitive injuries around the house where the wrist and arm have been overused and not being conditioned properly, to allow those muscles to work without being stressed through the outside of the elbow.

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How Do I Know If I Have Tennis Elbow

It is classed as an overused injury on the outside of the elbow, mainly around the knobbly bit which you feel in the back of the arm. Activities such as twisting the arm, bringing the wrist back into extension like riding a motorbike, riding a bicycle all can be very tender and then when you flex the wrist the other way and stretch the back of the arm, it can also feel tender.

The muscle that involves mainly is the extensor carpi radialis and there are four tendons that come off this origin muscles that come off the outside portion of the elbow and travel down to the fingers to extend the fingers up and out.

They all join on one common tendon origin, which is why a lot of force goes through that area and if it is overused, that’s when problems can occur.

Since we’re in tennis month, we want to show you how you can play tennis and racquet sports without having to worry about the dreaded tennis elbow.

When there is inflammation at the tendon, it can often take four to six weeks of no activity to allow the pain to go. When you’re in Britain, that can mean the tennis season is gone by the time it heals.

What Does Tennis Elbow Feel Like?

Well, try and push down on your right wrist with your left hand whilst maintaining the extension through the other hand and if it’s painful at the site of the elbow, then that is one contributing test to a tennis elbow.

If you extend your middle finger and try and resist that from being pushed down, again it usually points towards the signs of a tennis elbow. If it’s hot from the outside of the elbow, again this is tender and if you’re picking something up or gripping something and it’s painful, this often could be signs of a tennis elbow.

How Do You Treat Tennis Elbow?

Rest is the main thing. Reduce the inflammation with ice therapy. We use strapping techniques here in the clinic as well to take pressure off the tendon. When you’re back into daily activities, for example tennis or manual labour, wearing a tennis elbow strap is also helpful.

It’s also helpful to stretch the tendons as shown below and also we use a cross-friction massage which you can do at home, which is also very effective. Here in the clinic, we would adjust the elbow, check the shoulder and the wrists to make sure that everything is aligned properly. We would use soft tissue techniques, often acupuncture and shockwave therapy, to break down some of the inflammation to get you on the healing road faster and back to playing tennis.

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