Tennis elbow is a condition that can happen to anyone, not just people who play tennis! Basically it is a pain in your elbow region, which may hurt when you use your arm, such as when you lift things or grip objects.
Even though it's called "tennis elbow," you don't have to play tennis to get it, as indicated by its other names: shooter's elbow and archer's elbow. In fact, the correct name is lateral epicondylitis, which describes the injury occurring in the lateral side of the elbow, specifically where the common extensor tendon originates from the lateral epicondyle.
When we do the same arm movements over and over again, like hitting a tennis ball or using a computer mouse a lot, it can put stress on those tendons. They can get irritated and cause pain in our elbow.
Exactly what causes tennis elbow is unknown, but it is thought to be due to small tears in the tendon. This is not to be confused with golfer's elbow (medial epicondylitis), which is a similar inflammatory condition of the elbow.
The good news is, tennis elbow usually gets better with rest and taking it easy on your arm. Depending on the severity and impact of the injury on sporting performance, there are a range of treatments that are currently given.
- Rest - the first and most common treatment.
- Physiotherapy - simple exercises and stretches which increase strength and flexibility of the affected area.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): such as ibuprofen, naproxen or aspirin.
- Using Heat and/or ice. See more on RICE
- Bracing - orthotic brace or straps to reduce stress and aggravation to the injury.
- Surgery - usually the last option.
So if you ever feel pain in your elbow, don't worry, it's treatable, and you'll be back to your normal activities soon! Just remember, follow any medical advice, give your arm some rest, and be careful with repetitive movements.
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