Tennis elbow occurs when there is a problem with the tendons that attach to the outside of the elbow. These tendons are the attachment of the muscles that function to cock the wrist back. Specifically, the extensor carpi radialis brevis has been implicated in causing the symptoms of tennis elbow. This muscle attaches to a part of the elbow bone called the lateral epicondyle, thus giving tennis elbow the medical name 'lateral epicondylitis.'
Tennis elbow is not simply an "inflammation" of these tendons. The problem is thought to be a degenerative process as a result of repetitive use. This process occurs when microscopic tears are incompletely healed within the tendon.
Causes Of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is most commonly seen in two groups of people:
- Manual Laborers - People who work with their hands are at greater risk of developing
tennis elbow. Jobs that may lead to tennis elbow include plumbers,
painters, gardeners, and carpenters.
- Sports Participants - Sports participants, especially racquet sport players, are prone to developing tennis elbow. About a third of amateur tennis players experience tennis elbow at some point in their careers. In addition to racquet sports, tennis elbow is seen in golfers, fencers, and other sports participants.
Tennis Elbow Symptoms
Patients with tennis elbow experience pain on the outside of the elbow that is worsened by grasping objects and cocking back the wrist. The most common symptoms of tennis elbow are:
- Pain over the outside of the elbow
- Pain when lifting objects
- Pain radiating down the forearm
Tennis Elbow Remedies
- Some simple excercises can
also be helpful in controlling the symptoms of tennis elbow. These
exercises should not cause pain, and those that do should not be done
until pain resolves. By strengthening the muscles and tendons involved
with tennis elbow, you can help prevent the problem from returning. To
see a list of simple excercises to help cure tennis elbow please click here.
- Tennis Elbow sufferers often find the best relief of pain from wearing an elbow orthosis (elbow brace). One particular brace that is highly recommended by Tennis Elbow sufferers is the Gamma Nitro Aircast Armband. The theory behind using an elbow brace is that the armband will redirect the pull of muscles that are irritated in tennis elbow. Instead of the pressure being exerted directly on the tendon over the outside of the elbow, the nitrogen-filled pouch transmits the pressure directly under the brace. In order for the brace to work effectively, it must be worn about four centimeters down the forearm, not where you have pain in the elbow! Patients often find relief of pain when using the elbow brace during activities.