5 things know about tennis elbow

If you have a lot of pain in the outer arm, the cause may be tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis. Tennis elbow is the most common reason for visiting the healthcare provider with elbow pain. Healthcare professionals then prescribe investigations like x ray in islamabad to make the diagnosis. Read on to know more about tennis elbow:

What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is the name given to the inflammation and pain in the lateral elbow joint, secondary to repeated use of the extensors of the forearm, as often seen in tennis play. Tennis elbow is common in all age groups, but particularly in those above 40 years of age.

1. What are the causes of tennis elbow?

Extensive use of forearm muscles is associated with tennis elbow however, it is not associated with this sport alone. In fact, any activity with repetitive gripping, particularly involving the first two fingers and thumb are causative factors—including: weight lifting, use of plumbing tools, fencing, typing, knitting, carpentering, painting, meat cutting, repetitive use of computer mouse, wringing cloth, sweeping, and cooking.

2. What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow presents with pain, morning stiffness of the affected area, persistent soreness in the forearm, and weak grip. Upon use of the elbow and the tendon, this pain worsens and often radiatesto the lower and upper arm. If the inner or medial elbow is involved, the condition is called golfer’s elbow, and it is different from the lateral tendonitis.

3. What are the stages of tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow presents with three stages.

·        First stage: presents with immediate swelling and intense pain during the activity period. Thereafter, there is only mild tenderness.

·        Second stage: presents with swelling during both activity and rest period.

·        Third stage: shows small tears in the tendon and therefore, there is extensive scar tissue formation. At this stage, the pain is continuous, even during complete rest, like nighttime.

4. What are the treatment options for tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is treated firstly with proper arm rest; for several weeks, all activities that cause pain must be stopped. Because tennis elbow heals on its own most of the time, resting alone is helpful. Additional conservative methods include icing the elbow to manage swelling. For two days, the elbow must be iced every three to four hours for twenty minutes. Using an elbow strap protects the elbow from further strain.

Physical therapy is also helpful for improving pain and inflammation. Expert help must be sought to strengthen the elbow by using the right muscle groups. Physical therapists will also help you find techniques to prevent future aggravation of tendonitis.

NSAIDs like aspirin, naproxen and diclofenacreduce inflammation as well as pain. They must be used sparingly or side effects can occur. Alternatively, steroid injections in the elbow can temporarily ease pain.

5. What are the investigations for tennis elbow?

X-RAY: some causes of tennis elbow are secondary to joint misalignment and bone fractures, which is why the first investigation the doctor orders, is an X-ray of the joint.

Electromyography: is performed when nerve compression is suspected in the elbow. Electromyography is done to check the nerve conduction of the elbow.

Doppler:this imaging technique is still emerging. It is an ultrasound that helps to diagnose tendon problems, and therefore, is used to rule out or diagnose tennis elbow.

MRI: When the pain in elbow is accompanied by tingling and forearm pain, the healthcare provider may need techniques like mri in islamabad to rule in or rule out herniated disc. MRI may also be performed to find cartilage injuries and ligamental tears of the elbow. 

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