The tennis elbow condition is not limited to the sport of tennis: it can also occur as a sign of incorrect body mechanics repeated over and over again – such as the way you hold your computer mouse or the angle at which your arms rest as you type. Tennis elbow is very common and also very treatable.
In the game of tennis, tennis elbow is generally caused when a player uses bad body mechanics or incorrect equipment weight/sizes or a combination of the both. Basically if you play tennis regularly with a racquet that is too heavy for your arm and you strike the ball using incorrect technique you could cause a repetitive stress injury.
Technically, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) defines tennis elbow as a degenerative condition of the tendon fibers on the outside of the elbow. These tendons are responsible for anchoring the muscles that extend or lift the wrist and hand.
AAOS statistics show that while it occurs mostly in patients aged 30-50 it can and does occur in all age groups. As many as half of athletes in racquet sports (tennis, squash, racquetball) are affected – and there is not usually a specific trauma reported that sets off the symptoms. That means it can sneak up on you before you ever figure out you’re injuring your arm.
In addition to racquet sports, fencing athletes are also commonly affected. Some occupations requiring repetitive and vigorous use of the forearm include raking, weaving, painting, meat cutting, plumbing, and more.
After being diagnosed with tennis elbow, in most cases, doctors will first attempt about 6 months worth of non-surgical treatment that will include ceasing the activities that cause the symptoms, icing the outside of
the elbow, and treating the pain with acetaminophen and/or anti-inflammatory medication.
Orthotics may be prescribed to help reduce symptoms by resting (immobilizing) the tendons and muscles. Counter force and wrist braces are two examples of orthotics. Never wear these unless specifically prescribed to you by your doctor.
Corticosteriod injections at the site of pain may follow the above treatments. The injections are designed to reduce inflammation and pain. To prevent further or repeated injury, you will also be firmly asked to modify or cease the movements that may have caused the degeneration.
Surgery is usually only recommended for tennis elbow in patients with debilitating pain and who have not responded to at least 6 months of treatment.
A typical surgery for tennis elbow involves removing the inflamed tendon tissue and replacing it with healthy tendon tissues. In most cases, this is an outpatient procedure.
In conclusion, tennis elbow is a common affliction and treatment is usually non-surgical. But in any case, if you have pain in your elbow and you believe it is some form of tennis elbow, you should visit a doctor who can then set you on the correct road to getting your arm healthy again.
Author: Anne Clarke
Anne Clarke writes numerous articles for Web sites on gardening, parenting, fashion, and home decor. Her background also includes tennis, gardening, and fashion. For more of her useful articles on tennis, please visit Tennis Racquets, supplier of high quality tennis racquets and other tennis equipment.
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