Tennis, while a fun and great sport to play, can lead to body pain and injuries due to the impact and repetition of movements. A tennis player’s dominant arm is especially prone to developing tennis elbow, which is also known as lateral epicondylitis.
Tennis elbow occurs when there’s a feeling of soreness, or tenderness around the joints that curve and connect the arms. The tendons become inflamed due to overuse. Golfers also suffer from lateral epicondylitis, so do laborers who do repetitive motions of swinging their arms.
At least 10-50% of players incur a tennis elbow injury. The condition is more prevalent in men than women and while it can strike at any age, it’s more common among tennis players between 30 to 50 years old.
Signs and Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
- Pain and tenderness directly coming from the outer side of the elbow
- Pain radiating from the elbow’s outer side to the forearm and wrist
- Pain when extending the wrist
- Pain and weakness when gripping objects, such as a doorknob
- Weakness in the forearms
- Inability to carry, or hold heavy items with the hands
Your doctor might apply pressure on your elbows, arms, wrist and fingers to determine the extent of the injury. Further tests, such as an X-ray, or an MRI scan will reveal if there’s a fracture, or nerve compression.
Preventing Tennis Elbow
An improper backhand technique, or the wrong body position, coupled with strokes that aren’t properly coordinated, can lead to the injury. Switching and correcting poor techniques and positioning should minimize the impact, or stress the muscles and tendons absorb.
Using the wrong size of equipment could also contribute to tennis elbow. Make sure that your tennis racquet is the right size for your grip.
Aside from techniques and equipment, our doctors in orthopedics at Palm Beach County recommend the following preventive measures:
- Doing arm stretches before you start a game
- Limiting the time you play, especially if you have muscle soreness in the elbows
- Doing regular strengthening exercises for your arms and shoulders, and stability exercises for your elbows.
Treating Tennis Elbow
The condition can be alleviated via nonsurgical means. Your doctor might advise you to refrain from playing for a few days until the symptoms clear. You can also do the following to help with the pain:
- Take anti-inflammatory and non-steroidal medication, as prescribed
- Apply a cold compress using an ice pack on the elbows to reduce the swelling
- Temporarily wear a strap, or braces and other orthotic devices to stabilize the elbow and limit the stress as it heals
- In some cases, a corticosteroid injection might help, especially with doing movements
Depending on the extent of the injury, however, you might need to do physical therapy after an injury to regain your arm’s strength and flexibility. In serious cases of tennis elbow injury, surgery might be needed.
Disregarding treatment for tennis elbow might lead to chronic elbow pain that can be severe, or disabling in old age.
About orthopedics Palm Beach County
Orthopedics in Palm Beach County does not only include diagnosis and surgical treatments, as the name of the profession might suggest. We specialize in helping people return to their normal function, We see our responsibilities as going beyond long hours in the operating room. We educate patients and provide a full range of information to prevent further orthopedic issues and continuously support them during their recovery period.
The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.