What this injury is all about? Why do people with tennis elbow don't always play the sport of tennis? A lateral elbow pain that stems from overuse of the arm is known as tennis elbow. Excessive activity that overloads the wrist extensor (outer forearm) muscles may bring on an annoying burning sensation along the outer part of the elbow that just doesn't want to quit.

Typical complaints of tennis elbow include pain with gripping activities and moving heavy objects. Pain often occurs when one lifts a gallon of milk out of the refrigerator. Symptoms will worsen while using the arm and then lessen with rest. To identify the disorder, one presents with tenderness around the lateral aspect of the elbow. Pain is reproduced with a passive stretch of the wrist and with resisted muscular tests of the wrist extensor muscle group. Numbness and tingling are usually not present.

Tennis elbow is a repetitive overuse injury of proximal forearm muscles in the body. Repetitive overuse injuries occur from prolonged loads on muscles and tendons. Excessive use of a hammer is just one example of an activity which can lead to tennis elbow. Tennis elbow can also emerge from faulty body mechanics while sitting at a computer with a keyboard that is positioned too high for the elbow and wrist. Proper posture is an important element to prevent tennis elbow. While sitting at a computer, one should keep a 90 angle at the elbows, knees and hips to minimize the chance of overloading the forearm muscles. Playing tennis with poor techniques can also result in tennis elbow, the origin of the generic injury name.

The proper medical term for tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis. The lateral epicondyle is the distal outer boney protuberance of the upper arm bone called the humerus. The wrist extensor muscles insert into the lateral epicondyle and this is the area which gets inflamed when one has tennis elbow. The forearm muscle most commonly affected is the extensor carpi radialus brevis. Most simply put, tennis elbow is a strain of the lateral forearm muscles and tendons.

In mild cases of injury, the irritated muscle will respond to the basic procedures of rest and ice. However, a severely aggravated muscle will most likely require a trip to your medical doctor. Anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy are often prescribed by doctors.

After a physical therapy evaluation for tennis elbow, a physical therapist will teach home exercise programs for stretching and strengthening the forearm. A physical therapist might use special modality equipment such as electrical stimulation, ice packs, or ultrasound to help reduce pain and enhance the healing process. Many treatment techniques are employed to resolve the pain and dysfunction of tennis elbow. Friction massage treatment effectively strengthens the musculotendon junction. A strong tendon insertion from the muscle into the bone will increase one's tolerance for excessive force on the forearm musculotendon region. Faulty elbow joint mechanics are corrected by the therapist with specific joint mobilization techniques. Sport-specific training may rectify improper backhand swing techniques one uses during tennis. Neoprene elbow supports with special pressure pads are sometimes used to provide compression and can help one manage daily life activities and work with less pain. For complete recovery, physical therapy treatment may also include the correction of movement system imbalances of the body.

One should realize that other regions in the body especially the neck, upper back, and shoulder can be a contributing cause of lateral elbow pain. The pain sometimes isn't from the lateral elbow muscle or tendon at all. The lateral elbow pain might be from a disc problem in the neck, shoulder impingement, or entrapped distal peripheral nerves of the upper extremity. One should also not confuse the pain along the inner medial elbow/forearm region, that is often medial epiconylitis (a.k.a. golfer's elbow), with the lateral elbow/forearm pain of tennis elbow. Trauma, such as falls, may result in elbow fractures and can give rise to lateral elbow pain as well. So, although this injury appears generally straight forward, it is always best to seek a medical professional for proper evaluation and treatment. Reach out and be pain free of tennis elbow.

Information from About.Com.

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