What is Tennis Elbow?

by TOI Admin February 28, 2017

By Adrienne D. Riveros, MOTR/L

Tennis elbow refers to a condition near the outside of the elbow where the symptoms include pain, inflammation, soreness and stiffness. The condition typically occurs when the forearm extensor muscles are used repetitively. Over time, this can cause small tears to develop in the tendon that attaches these muscles to the bone at the outside of the elbow.

Some common activities with repetitive wrist motion that can cause tennis elbow include:

>  Playing tennis

>  Prolonged use of a screwdriver, hammer, pliers, wire strippers or other tools

Treatment Options

The most common treatment option is to stop or decrease the repetitive stress as much as possible. Icing and anti-inflammatories are also very beneficial. If the condition fails to get better or worsens, a visit to the physician may be necessary. They may choose to administer an injection or may send you to therapy. Among other things, therapy may include a wrist support splint to limit the strain on the forearm muscles, education on a counterforce band or Tendon Trak (takes the load off of the irritated tissue), stretches and range of motion exercises and/or Iontophoresis (medicated patches). It is very important to note that, even after a person is feeling better, it is still necessary to ice and stretch for a length of time to prevent the condition from returning.

TIP: If you are a tennis player, make sure you have the right size racquet. A racquet that is too big can put unnecessary strain on your extensor muscles. Adjust your string tension to a lower level, as strings that are too tight can increase the amount of strain in the arm. 
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