Tennis Elbow-Part 1
WHAT IS TENNIS ELBOW?
Tennis elbow is tendonitis of the common extensor tendon that attaches to the bony part of the outside of the elbow known as the lateral epicondyle. The technical term for tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis. Tennis elbow varies in severity from a dull ache to severe debilitation pain. Common symptoms of tennis elbow include: loss of grip strength, pain on extension of the wrist or forearm, tenderness to touch on the outside of the elbow and elbow pain during activity or rest.
BUT I DON’T PLAY TENNIS!
You don’t have to play tennis, to get tennis elbow. Tennis elbow may be the most commonly used term, but it is caused by any excessive forceful, repetitive, or sustained supination (palm facing up) of the hand, especially with the elbow straight. Also forceful elbow flexion when the forearm is held in pronation (palm facing down) may cause this problem. Carrying a heavy briefcase, flipping a briefcase onto the top of the desk so it is ready to open, turning stiff door knobs, wringing clothes, meticulous ironing, unscrewing a tight jar lid by movement only at the wrist, walking a large dog pulling a leash, excessive handshaking, erasing chalk lines on a black board, washing walls by hand, and raking leaves are just a few examples of the causes of tennis elbow.
Your doctor’s treatment should be supplemented with a home treatment program. You must follow all directions as prescribed and continue to treat your condition even after your pain is gone. Like most problems the pain will go away long before the condition is resolved. Therefore it is important to continue your treatment until the tennis elbow condition is corrected, not just when the pain has stopped. Plan on treating your tennis elbow daily for several weeks, or even months as recommended by your doctor.