What is Tennis Elbow? What are the Treatments and Exercises?

Tennis elbow is a problem that occurs as a result of the tendons in the elbow being overloaded and damaged as a result of repetitive movements.

Dear patients, in this article, I will give you detailed information about tennis elbow. This problem, which is thought to be only in athletes and even tennis players due to its name, can occur in everyone. People who do repetitive movements and use their arms heavily, especially while working, are at risk. Carpenters, sewing or embroidery, plumbers, butchers and even painters may encounter the problem of tennis elbow.

What Causes Tennis Elbow?

As I mentioned above, tennis elbow is a muscle tension and injury that occurs due to overuse. This is due to frequent contractions of the forearm muscles. Tissue injuries may occur as a result of the contraction, and as a result, the tendons connecting the forearm muscles to the bone in the elbow are contracted. As a result of this situation, what we call tennis elbow, the medical name of lateral epicondylitis, occurs.

To better understand tennis elbow, I would like to address its causes separately.

  1. Overuse: Tennis elbow occurs due to damage to a specific forearm muscle. When our elbow is in a straight position, the problematic muscle weakens due to excessive use, since the wrist area becomes stable and stable. As a result of this weakening, pain occurs in the tendon that connects the muscles and bones and inflammation occurs.

  1. Age: Tennis elbow usually occurs between the ages of 30 and 50, due to careless and intense use of the area in question. However, it should not be forgotten that there are many different risk factors for the emergence of this problem. Individuals with risk factors may experience tennis elbow, regardless of the age range I mentioned.

  1. Profession or Hobby: Our occupations, which we spend a considerable amount of time in our daily life, can play a role in the occurrence of tennis elbow. Movements while holding and using the racket, arm movements used in occupations such as carpentry, painting and cooking are very effective in the emergence of tennis elbow.

Beware: You can have tennis elbow without any known injury, strain, or repetitive motion. For this reason, I recommend that you consult a specialist when you have long-lasting and unremitting elbow pain.

Tennis Elbow Symptoms

Tennis elbow is a problem characterized by pain in the elbow area. If I need to briefly talk about the symptoms that point to this problem;

  • Pain on the outside of the elbow

  • Sensation of tenderness in the area of ​​pain,

  • Weakening during movement in the hand and wrist,

  • The pain that occurs when grasping an object, shaking hands or making a fist movement indicates tennis elbow.

Pay Attention: Dear patients, if you experience pain every time after hand movements that you make frequently in your daily life, you should definitely see a specialist.

How Is Tennis Elbow Diagnosed?

When you go to the doctor with the complaint of elbow pain, first of all, physical examination and patient history should be listened. Along with these processes, if there is a suspicion about tennis elbow, detailed examinations are performed. In addition, the results obtained as a result of some movements performed by the doctors during the physical examination also help to pass the differential diagnosis stage.

Physical examination: As a result of the complaint of elbow pain, your doctor wants to learn some basic information from you. The sports you do, your profession, whether you have had a blow to the elbow or arm area or whether you have had an accident recently are among the things your doctor should know during this examination. The doctor asks you to straighten the wrist and fingers during the physical exam to find out if your arm is causing pain under resistance. In this process, comprehension tests can also be done.

X-ray:X-rays may be taken to observe if there is a problem such as arthritis in the elbow and to examine the bone in detail.

MRI:This method, also known as magnetic resonance imaging, is preferred to see if elbow pain is due to neck hernia or arthritis and to perform soft tissue examination.

Electromyography: EMG can be taken to rule out the possibility of nerve compression. The symptoms of tennis elbow and the symptoms of nerve compression can be similar to each other.

Tennis Elbow Treatment

As with many joint problems, surgery is not the first solution for tennis elbow. Almost 90% of people with this problem can be treated without surgical intervention.

Rest:Reducing the activities for a certain period of time and resting the arm is the first step in the treatment of this problem.

Medication:The use of painkillers reduces the pain and swelling in the area, if any.

Physiotheraphy: Physical therapy planning can be done to strengthen the forearm muscles and provide muscle recovery. In this process, a comprehensive treatment plan is obtained by using ice massage and muscle stimulating techniques as well as exercises.

Support Usage:Treatment planning can be made with the use of supports located on the back of the forearm, which not only relieves the symptoms of tennis elbow, but also allows the area to rest.

Injection:With methods such as steroid injection, pain relief and symptom reduction are provided.

Shock Wave Therapy: Sound waves sent to the elbow can create micro-traumas and help the area to enter the natural healing process and accelerate this process. It has been observed that shock wave therapy, which is accepted as an experimental treatment by some doctors, gives positive results in tennis elbow.

Surgical: If the symptoms of tennis elbow do not decrease, if the symptoms have continued uninterruptedly for more than 6 months, surgical treatment may be considered. However, surgical applications are preferred as a last resort due to the presence of surgical risks and complications that may occur during the postoperative recovery period.

Ways to Avoid Tennis Elbow

Whether you have been diagnosed with tennis elbow or not, you can prevent this problem and prevent its progression by making some changes in your daily life. Dear patients, you can increase your life comfort with a few small changes that you can integrate into your daily life.

Especially if you are in the risk groups I mentioned above, integrate the tips I will give you to protect yourself from tennis elbow into your life.

  • Do exercises to strengthen your wrist and forearm muscles,

  • Avoid repetitive movements, use support if you cannot avoid it due to your job,

  • While doing repetitive movements, be careful to take frequent breaks and make movements that will rest your arm,

  • Be careful not to work by constantly bending your wrist,

  • Take care to keep the tools you use loose,

  • Do not skip the warm-up movements while doing sports.


Exercises for Tennis Elbow

Dear patients, if you have a problem with tennis elbow, it is very important that you take adequate care before coming to the point of surgical intervention and do your exercises without interrupting.

  1. Wrap your fingers in rubber and make on-off movements. Keep doing this move 3 times a day for 25 repetitions each time. After a while, when the muscles get stronger, add another tire.

  1. Without bending your elbow, keep your arm straight with your palm facing up. Grab the fingers of the outstretched hand with your other hand and pull them down, continuing until you feel the muscles in your forearm tense. Stay in this position for 15 seconds, repeat the movement 5 times in 2 sets a day.

  1. Take a 1-pound weight, a water bottle, or a bag filled with dried legumes. Support your forearm on the edge of a table or on your knee, take the weight in your hand and raise and lower it slowly. Repeat this movement 10 times in 1 set per day.

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