Tennis Elbow is otherwise known as Lateral Epicondylitis. This is the result of strenuous overuse of the forearm muscles and tendons around the elbow joint, such as by playing – you guessed it! – tennis!
Episodes of Tennis Elbow results in elbow pain:
- On the outside of the elbow
- When trying to straighten the arm
- When gripping – such as pens, when writing
- When twisting – such as when turning door handles, or opening jars
Upon such repetitive strain, tiny tears form in these muscles and tendons, causing inflammation. Tennis elbow if very common, and most often seen in adults, between 40-60 years of age.
Similarly, pain on the inner side of the elbow, the Medial Epicondyle, is called Golfers Elbow. This is another repetitive strain injury, using a slightly different group of muscles around the forearm.
Tennis Elbow, AKA Lateral Epicondylitis, meaning the inflammation around the lateral epicondyle.
There is no instant cure for such strain injuries; they should gradually heal themselves over time. Avoiding the repetitive action causing the injury will prevent further damage, and allow the injury to improve.
In the mean-time, symptoms such as the pain and inflammation can be treated with painkillers and anti-inflammatory medications, such as Paracetamol and Ibuprofen. The RICE protocol (Raise, Ice, Compress, Elevate) can also be used to relieve some inflammatory pain. Steroid injections can also be considered, as a slightly more longer-term pain relief.
In severe or recurrent cases, physiotherapy may be recommended, including massage and manipulation of the affected elbow. This should help relieve the stiffness, and improve the range of movement.
Failing all of the above, surgery may be considered, to remove part of the offending damaged tendon.
Regular tennis players are advised to be avoid putting too much stress on the elbow of their playing arm, to prevent developing tennis elbow. In some cases, changes to your technique may help improve the problem! After all, you’re probably not playing tennis as often as the professionals, and we doubt Andy Murray or Rafael Nadal have ever suffered from Tennis Elbow…
If you’re suffering with any kind of musculoskeletal condition, including sporting injuries such as Tennis Elbow, pop into any of our six central London GP Clinics to discuss your treatment options with a Doctor. One convenient, quick GP consultation, costing just £59, may be the first step on the path to ending your tennis-elbow-troubles. Book now!