Written by: Amy Ramos, PTA
Tennis Elbow (also called lateral epicondylitis) is an overuse injury that occurs where the muscles of the forearm attach to the elbow. Although it is named “Tennis Elbow” because of its frequent occurrence among tennis players, it can affect other athletes as well as those who participate in leisure or work activities that require repetitive arm, elbow, wrist, and hand movement, especially while tightly gripping something. Tennis Elbow is typically diagnosed by a medical doctor from a description of symptoms and a few simple muscle tests. Symptoms of Tennis Elbow include: pain/tenderness on the outer part of the elbow, pain from gripping, with or without movements of the wrist and lifting movements, and pain from activities that involve extending the wrist (e.g. pouring a container of liquid, lifting with the palm down and sweeping – especially when wrist movement is required).
Initially, it is recommended that one avoid activities that exacerbate the symptoms of tennis elbow as well as use ice to alleviate the pain and reduce inflammation. Once the initial symptoms have subsided, Tennis Elbow is usually successfully treated with conservative interventions such as physical therapy and chiropractic care to decrease pain and restore mobility and strength to the affected arm. In addition, acupuncture treatments and massage therapy have been shown to be quite effective in treating tennis elbow.
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