Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, results from the overuse of tendons in the elbow joint and can develop into chronic pain if left unaddressed.
Tennis elbow, medically referred to as lateral epicondylitis, is a prevalent overuse injury affecting individuals of all age groups. While its name implies a connection to racquet sports, this condition is not limited to athletes and can impact individuals with varying activity levels.
The pain associated with tennis elbow is predominantly experienced on the outer aspect of the elbow and can vary in intensity, ranging from mild to chronic. Interestingly, despite the pain being localized in the elbow, it stems from the overuse of the wrist joints.
Dr. Shovan Kumar Rath’s Takes on Tennis Elbow and it’s Treatment.
Causes of tennis elbow:
“Although it’s commonly known as tennis elbow, we actually see more cases in individuals who don’t play tennis,” explains Dr. Shovan Kumar Rath “Athletes participating in racquet sports like tennis or badminton, as well as cricketers, and professionals such as dentists, carpenters, painters, and goldsmiths are all susceptible to developing tennis elbow. This injury results from the repetitive use of the wrist, as the tendons responsible for wrist and finger movement share a common origin in the elbow joint. Consequently, the pain is localized on the outer side of the elbow.”
Additionally, tennis elbow has been linked to diabetes, and this association is particularly prevalent among older individuals.
Symptoms of tennis elbow:
The primary symptoms of tennis elbow include:
- Mild or localized pain on the outer side of the elbow, which, if left untreated, can develop into chronic discomfort.
- Difficulty and pain experienced during routine activities, such as lifting objects or operating doorknobs.
- In severe instances, the pain can intensify, causing challenges with simple actions like extending the arm.
- The discomfort may also radiate to the forearms and wrists.
Treating tennis elbow typically involves a six to eight-week process, with physiotherapy playing a central role. It’s crucial to avoid activities that strain the affected arm. If necessary, a tennis elbow band can be used to support the joint and the surrounding muscles. Additionally, physiotherapy sessions are paramount.”
A pain management physician plays a significant role in the comprehensive treatment of tennis elbow, as they specialize in managing and alleviating various types of pain. These specialists can prescribe and manage medications to help control pain and inflammation associated with tennis elbow. This may include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, or in some cases, short-term use of oral steroids.