Effective Tennis Elbow Treatment For Active People
The human body is a magnificent machine that was designed for general use, not overuse. Repetition and stress are the most common causes of injuries in non-contact sports. These athletes must serve, swing, or pitch countless times during practice and on game day. And because the muscle groups they rely on are relatively small, most experience overuse injuries during their careers.
Known colloquially as tennis elbow, lateral epicondylitis is caused by overuse of the hand and forearm muscles, which can and often does result in chronic elbow pain. The pain is caused by either a subtle or acute injury to the outside of the elbow or olecranon. In most cases, it affects the area where the tendons and muscles of the forearm attach to the bony part of the elbow.
What are the symptoms?
Tennis elbow almost always affects a person's dominant arm. A right-handed golfer, for example, is far more likely to experienced pain in his right arm. This pain typically develops slowly and then increases around the outside of the elbow. Movement alone may not trigger it. Because the hands and forearms are involved, squeezing and movement is what commonly brings the pain. It is for this reason that people with severe tennis elbow often try to avoid shaking hands. They may also have problems opening jars, brushing their teeth, even using utensils.
Who gets it?
Tennis players, obviously! Because their sport requires constant repetition and nearly year-round practice and competition, about half of them suffer from it during their careers. When on the links, the condition is referred to as golfer's elbow, since it strikes them with almost the same frequency. But for the overall population, tennis elbow is not particularly common. It only affects between 1 and 3 percent of Americans, most of whom are not tennis players. They are, however, mostly men.
Outside the world of sports, anyone who engages in repetitive physical activities can develop tennis elbow. The following workers are far more likely to suffer from it than the average person: carpenters, gardeners, landscapers, mechanics, house cleaners, and assembly-line workers.
How to deal with it
Like most overuse injuries, the only way to effectively reduce pain and inflammation is to avoid activities that cause discomfort. Ice can and should be applied to the affected area, particularly if it is painful or sore. An over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drug, such as ibuprofen, is also an effective tennis elbow treatment. In serious or chronic cases, a cortisone-type injection may be necessary for tennis elbow treatment. But in most cases, these are only prescribed to professional athletes who have no other choice than to play.
After an injury
As we mentioned, the only way to reduce or even eliminate the pain associated with tennis elbow is to rest the affected joint. When the elbow has recovered, stretching and strength exercises can help build up the tendons and muscles around the injured area. With that said any activity that causes discomfort should be avoided until tendonitis treatment has been completed.
If you do eventually return to the sport or activity that was responsible for your injury, make sure you use the proper protective equipment for tennis elbow treatment. For many who suffer from the injury, an elastic band or brace that is wrapped around the forearm helps relieve some of the pain. There are also rings worn on the fingers that help absorb the shock created by the impact in the hand, which reduces the vibration that can cause pain in the injured elbow. Last but not least, pay close attention to the movements that cause discomfort or pain. And if they continue, stop playing and rest your sore joint!