Soreness in your elbow? Shooting pain that radiates across your forearm and wrist? Weakness that makes it hard even to hold a coffee cup?
That’s Tennis Elbow.
What is Tennis Elbow?
Many assume that what they’re feeling can’t be Tennis Elbow because they don’t play tennis, but the game is far from the only cause.
Tennis elbow, also known by its more scientific name “Lateral Epicondylitis”, is a repetitive strain injury, or a type of injury that comes from overloading tendons with frequent and repetitive movements. When you repeatedly use the forearm muscles responsible for straightening or raising your wrist, such as in a tennis swing, you put yourself at risk for Tennis Elbow. The repetitive movement can stress the tendons that attach the elbow and forearm muscles and can even lead to microscopic tears in the tissue.
When that happens, it can cause you pain, especially located on the outside of your forearm close to your elbow. If left untreated, what starts as an ache may become a constant pain. The pain can be severe and may radiate across more of your arm or even make your elbow painful to touch. You may also experience weakness, especially with your grip, and it may cause you pain to lift even small items.
What Causes Tennis Elbow?
Of course, tennis and other racquet sports like squash and racquetball are obvious culprits. If your form is off or you grip the racquet too tightly it can cause severe strain to the muscles and tendons in your racquet arm. But these only account for approximately 5% of Lateral Epicondylitis cases, and you might be surprised to learn that even everyday tasks can cause it.
Some potential causes include:
- Playing musical instruments
- Using plumbing or carpentry tools
- Working on cars
- Assembly line jobs
- Kitchen work, especially cutting with a knife
- Computer mouse usage
- Certain sports and exercises, especially when done with improper form
Any time you excessively perform repetitive motion in the wrist, you are at risk of developing Tennis Elbow. Lateral Epicondylitis can affect people from any age group but is most common for those between the ages of 30 and 50.
How Can You Fix Tennis Elbow?
Luckily, Tennis Elbow is usually not hard to treat.
The first step is to take a break from the activity causing the pain. Take this opportunity to reevaluate your technique and make sure you’re using your tools, racquets, or instruments in with proper form so you don’t experience Tennis Elbow again later on.
Try an over-the-counter painkiller like Ibuprofen to relieve the pain and any irritation, and you should ice the spot for 15 minutes about 3-4 times a day. This and rest will be enough to heal mild cases of Tennis Elbow with time.
You may also consider bracing the elbow with an Ace bandage or a brace specifically designed for Tennis Elbow relief, which will help reduce unnecessary movement.
Home Remedies Not Cutting It This Time?
It can be frustrating when the basic routine of rest, ice, and painkillers doesn’t work for you, so what can you do? For moderate to severe cases that don’t respond to these remedies, you may want to consult with your doctor. It’s possible they will order imaging like X-Rays or MRIs to get a better look at what’s going on inside.
Your doctor may also recommend some of the following if your case is severe enough:
- Working with a physical therapist who can help you get your strength back and develop the proper form for the activity that caused this in the first place;
- A splint or brace to help your muscles and tendons rest; or —
- Corticosteroid injections, which can help relieve swelling and pain.
- In extreme cases, they may even recommend surgery, but this is not typical.
Acoustic Wave Therapy Is A Pain-free Way To Treat Severe Cases Of Lateral Epicondylitis
Acoustic Wave Therapy (AWT) is the best option for relieving painful cases of Tennis Elbow. The treatment is pain-free, drug-free, and requires no needles or surgery to relieve your tennis elbow.
This game-changing technology works by using sound waves to stimulate the arm. The waves increase blood flow to the area, which helps break up inflammation within blood vessels while even stimulating the creation of new blood vessels, a process known as neovascularization. This type of treatment both relieves Tennis Elbow pain and treats the internal cause.
Unlike other ultrasound techniques, our Acoustic Wave Therapy does not require needles.
We want to help. If you’re ready to treat your Tennis Elbow for good with pain-free therapy, request an appointment today. If you still have questions, feel free to contact us for more information!