You may have heard the term “tennis elbow” before, but did you know that you can get this condition from all sorts of other activities, besides tennis? Find out more about what causes tennis elbow as well as how you can treat it.
Tennis elbow is a condition that is marked by pain or soreness near the elbow. The pain sometimes extends to the outer area of the upper arm or the forearm and wrist as well as the elbow. Tennis elbow occurs when the tendons in the elbow are overworked. This is usually due to a repetitive motion. The name stems from the fact that tennis players often develop this condition from doing a particular swing (such as a backhand swing) while playing.
The main symptom of tennis elbow is pain in the elbow area. The following are some of the more specific characteristics of the pain associated with tennis elbow:
Tennis elbow occurs due to an overuse of the muscles in the arm that are attached to the elbow. This overuse – particularly when it is due to a repetitive motion – can cause small tears in the tendons that attach those muscles to the bone on the outside of the elbow. Those small tears are causing the pain and weak grip associated with tennis elbow.
The risk of develop tennis elbow increases when you do a repetitive motion with the arm that uses the muscles attached to the bone in your elbow. Some examples of these types of activities include:
Because so many of these activities involve work, a person’s occupation can significantly increase their risk of developing tennis elbow. This includes auto mechanics, painters, plumbers, carpenters and any office worker who spends much of their day at a computer. Likewise, participation in racket sports also increases your risk of developing this condition.
Another factor that increases your risk of getting tennis elbow is your age. People who are between the ages of 30 and 50 are most likely to get this condition. However, it is still possible for individuals of any age to get tennis elbow.
You may be able to prevent it with some slight adjustments to your behavior. The following are some of the best ways to help prevent tennis elbow:
If your tennis elbow is not severe, you can try at-home treatment before seeing a doctor about your condition. Try these home treatments for tennis elbow if your pain is only mild:
If your pain continues or worsens even with these at-home remedies, see a doctor about your condition. Your doctor will most likely suggest one or more of the following treatment options:
If your pain continues to worsen even with these treatments and does not get better after 6 to 12 months, you may need to get surgery to stop the pain.
If you aren’t able to relive your tennis elbow with at-home treatment options, it’s important to see a doctor about your condition. When left untreated, tennis elbow can lead to chronic pain, especially when you try to lift or grip something. Get your tennis elbow treated sooner for the best chance at a successful and complete recovery.