Pain in the lateral side of your elbow is generally suspected as tennis elbow. Tennis elbow involves the muscles and tendons of your forearm that extend to your wrist and fingers. Symptoms may develop gradually, with mild pain that slowly worsens over time. Tennis elbow usually doesn’t come from an injury, but rather from overuse of the tendons in your forearm. It refers to the inflammation and tenderness of the tendons of the fore-arm muscles that attach to the lateral epicondyle (outer bony protuberance of the elbow). Continuous repetitive movement of the hands exerts stress on the forearm muscles which ultimately results in the damage and inflammation of its tendons.
Sometimes pain and tenderness can be felt in the lateral and it can get referred to the forearm and wrist also. Sometimes it mimics with the neurogenic pain of radial nerve. So a differential diagnosis is must to rule out the Cervical part.
What are the Causes of Tennis Elbow?
Following are the different cause of Tennis elbow
1. The repeated stress to the tissue may cause tiny tears in the tendons that attach to the outside of the elbow.
a. Small tears in the tendons that join the forearm to the outside of the elbow.
b. Incorrect movement of arm
2. Overuse injury, such as typing, using tools etc.
3. Prolonged gripping tasks such as riding a motorcycle or a bicycle, pushing or carrying heavy loads.
4. Trauma – A direct blow to the elbow during sports or working may result in swelling of the tendon that can lead to degeneration. A sudden extreme action, force, or activity could also injure the tendon.
Nowadays Several treatment options are available and can be used at home or after consulting a physician/physiotherapist.
The primary treatment is REST and following PRICE protocol.
P-Protect- Protecting the arm from further injury, restricting further movements.
R-Rest: Resting the arm is important. A break in activity allows the tears in the tendon attachment to heal.
I-Ice: Icing the inflamed joint to reduce swelling.
C-Compression: Compress the joint. Supporting the area can help realign the muscle fibers and relieve pressure on the area. A physician may recommend using a splint for 2 to 3 weeks to take the elbow out of action.
E-Elevate- to reduce any swelling.
Then comes the conservative treatments.
Physiotherapy: Physiotherapists has different treatment tools to treat your tennis elbow problem. They can use Ultra sound, IFT/TENS , dry needling with electro-therapy. We advise to visit the nearest physiotherapy first after getting diagnosed with tennis elbow. Physiotherapy should be the first line of treatment in acute cases.
Use of (NSAID) medicines are useful during the painful/inflamed stage to speed up the recovery through physiotherapy.
If still no signs of improvement you can go for Invasive therapy
Steroid injection: If symptoms are very painful, and the condition is making movement difficult, a physician may recommend a steroid injection.
After a steroid injection, the person should rest the arm and avoid putting too much strain on it.
Other treatments: Further options include injections of botulinum toxin, also known as Botox, and extra-corporeal shock wave therapy (ESWT).
Surgery is the last option available.
When doing activities do not forget to wear the supporting band to reduce your pain.
Visit our clinic to get expert opinion on your joint pain.