Tennis elbow, also known as Lateral Epicondylitis, is a common cause of elbow pain. Despite the name, it doesn’t only affect tennis players. Tennis elbow affects around 3% of the population and is most associated with work-related activities. However racquet sport players are more prone to the condition and account for approximately 5% of all sufferers. It effects men and women equally, peaking in occurrence between the ages of 30 and 50.
Tennis elbow is characterised by pain over the outer side of the elbow, which may radiate down the forearm as well.
It usually beings with inflammation of the extensor tendons of the forearm, as they attach to the Humerus (upper arm) bone, just above the elbow joints. This inflammation is typically caused by prolonged gripping activities such as hammering, driving screws, weight lifting, playing certain instruments, canoeing, driving and racquet sports.
Unlike many other injuries, tennis elbow is very easy to diagnose. It can be diagnosed by a couple of easy diagnostic tests. These combined with; having pain when the outside part of your elbow is touched and the elbow pain is worsened by gripping activities. In some cases simple things like turning a door handle or holding a pen can hurt.
Tennis elbow is an inflammatory condition. Therefore a short course of prescribed non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, would be the first step to treating tennis elbow. Anti-inflammatory gel can also help to relieve the pain. Some doctors may even inject the area with a corticosteroid, which helps to settle down the inflammation. Ice packs are also a cheap and effective treatment. You can apply the ice pack to the painful area for ten minutes every couple of hours. Making sure you never apply ice directly to the skin.
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