Does the possibility of developing Tennis Elbow worry you?
If you regularly work with your forearms, it’s natural to worry about developing Tennis Elbow. You might have even stumbled upon this blog post because you were searching for why you’re feeling pain on your forearm.
Forearm pain is one of the most common symptoms of Tennis Elbow. Mind you, there are many other possible causes of forearm pain. Don’t immediately assume you have this condition just because your forearm muscles feel sore.
But what should you do if you’ve really developed Tennis Elbow? How can you recognize it right away? And how can you treat it to relieve yourself from its discomfort?
Luckily for you, we’re tackling all of those questions here. This blog will talk about Tennis Elbow, its common causes, and how you can treat it.
What Is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis Elbow or Lateral Epicondylitis is caused by chronic exhaustion and irritation in the muscles and tendons on the back of the arm and the outside of the elbow.
You will most likely notice that you have this condition if you feel hot and sharp pains around or near your elbow.
Despite its name, Tennis Elbow isn’t only experienced by tennis players or athletes. In fact, overuse and constant repetitive motions of the wrist and arm can lead to anyone developing the condition.
Hence, to know more about Tennis Elbow, you should familiarize yourself with its common causes.
Common Causes of Tennis Elbow
As mentioned before, tennis elbow is a painful condition that you can feel around your elbows. This is because tennis elbow is commonly caused by damage to a specific forearm muscle that helps stabilize the wrist.
The weakening of this muscle due to overuse can eventually lead to tennis elbow. It can also cause pain and inflammation around the area.
As was previously mentioned, gradual overuse of the muscle can cause tennis elbow. This is why athletes are often more prone to developing this health issue. Their profession often involves repetitive and excessive use of their forearm muscles.
Although the people who are most prone to tennis elbow are athletes, other jobs can still heighten a person’s chances of developing tennis elbow. Again, jobs that require excessive use of forearm muscles and wrist movements can make you prone to developing the condition.
This means that people who have jobs similar to painters, plumbers, carpenters, or butchers are just as prone to tennis elbow as athletes.
Age can also be a factor that can contribute to developing tennis elbow. In fact, people in the ages of 30 to 50 seem to have a higher risk of developing tennis elbow.
Keep in mind that this doesn’t mean that younger people don’t have to worry about developing tennis elbow. Anyone at any age can develop this condition if they subject their forearm muscles to too much stress.
Tips to Treat Tennis Elbow
Now that you know more about what tennis elbow is and what can cause it, you’re probably wondering how you can treat it. If you’re suffering from it now, you might even be worried that it already requires surgery.
Luckily, tennis elbow doesn’t usually require invasive treatment such as open surgery or arthroscopic surgery. In fact most of the time, surgery is only needed if your condition doesn’t improve after 6 to 12 months of nonsurgical treatments.
This is why nonsurgical treatments such as physical therapy are often prioritized when treating tennis elbow. Medical professionals want to minimize risks in their treatments after all — and surgeries come with their share of risks.
For instance, surgeries pose risks that can worsen your condition such as these:
- Nerve and blood vessel damage,
- Prolonged rehabilitation, and
- Loss of strength or flexibility.
Luckily, around 80% to 95% of patients observe improvement with just nonsurgical treatments. So, to help start treating yourself if you do have tennis elbow, I’ve listed nonsurgical treatments that you can try at home below.
Rest and Self-Massage
The most commonly used treatment for conditions like Tennis Elbow is allowing your muscles to rest. It can sound overly simple, but rest is usually what your forearm needs most when experiencing this issue.
Around a week of letting your forearm muscle rest often yields positive results. You may even try to massage it.
When massaging your forearm for this condition, use firm, long, and lubricated strokes. Run them from your hand to your elbow on the back of your arm.
However, avoid putting too much pressure on the muscle when doing this. Pressing down too hard on the muscle can worsen your condition.
Stretching and Exercising
Another home remedy is stretching and exercising your muscles. A balanced mix of rest and exercise can actually help you recover from this condition.
Typically, it’s advised to start stretching and exercising the affected arm only after you’ve rested it for at least a week. You can also start doing stretches and exercise for it after the inflammation of the muscles has subsided.
The exercise and stretches are intended to help the affected muscle return to its former condition. Use only gentle exercises like fist clenches and wrist extensions.
The idea is to ease the muscle back into regular activity and strengthen it. Once this is achieved, the chances of tennis elbow recurring should also go down.
Icing is another common and easy way to treat this health problem. Again, this is because this condition is commonly associated with inflammation.
Although icing isn’t always a surefire way to help conditions like tennis elbow, it can still help prevent it from getting worse. This is because icing can help you deal with the pain of this medical condition.
When you feel less pain, you’re less likely to move your arm about in an effort to relieve its discomfort. This can also make your recovery process much easier.
However, you should remember to be careful when icing to avoid frostbite. Don’t leave your ice pack on your elbow for more than 15 minutes at a time or you may do more harm than good.
Keep in mind too that you’re not restricted to using ice packs in order to deal with the pain of this problem. You have options like over-the-counter pain medications, for example.
Final Thoughts on Understanding Tennis Elbow
This blog post went into detail about the tennis elbow. This will help you both manage and worry less about the pain you might be feeling around your forearm and elbow.
Be cautious about the things that often lead to tennis elbow. If your daily routine or profession requires you to do repetitive motions with your arms, you should rest your muscles enough to prevent the condition from developing.
If you do develop tennis elbow, this blog has provided you with home remedies that you can try. These include rest, gentle massage, moderate stretching and exercise, and icing.
But in the event that you feel like your tennis elbow needs professional treatment, AccuDoc Urgent Care can offer you services like physical therapy or x-rays. So, feel free to come to us if you want to receive treatment for your tennis elbow or any other joint pain.