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April 2, 2013

4 Tips to Prevent Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylosis is a condition that arises when there is microtrauma to the muscles at the back of the forearm which results in pain and inflammation. These muscles in the forearm act to extend the wrist and are also used when gripping a racket. Therefore with repetitive use can become irritated and inflamed. Typically the inflammation is not controlled which leads to a chronic situation whereby the collagen in the tendon is affected and thus an accumulation of scar tissue develops at the outside aspect of the elbow.

 

Signs and symptoms to look for if you have tennis elbow

 

  • Symptoms usually develop insidiously and tend to get progressively worse over time.
  • Tenderness is localized on the bony prominence along the outside of the elbow- the lateral epicondyle.
  • Pain can occur when squeezing a racket, shaking hands, turning doorknobs
  • Weakness of various muscles in shoulder, forearm, and wrist.
  • Decrease in range of motion in the wrist and elbow.
  • Pain that radiates from the outside of your elbow into your forearm and wrist
  •  

    Essentially, the various external forces (e.g. squeezing) exceed the tolerance of the soft tissues (muscles and tendons) and therefore this must be corrected in order promote recovery and prevent any future occurrences. 
     
    Here are some factors to consider if you want to prevent lateral elbow pain:

    • Stretch – Start with a good warm up to get the blood flowing to the tissues of your arm followed by stretching the forearm flexors and extensors.
    • Strengthen – Use dumbbells or a dowel with light weight on the end to keep these muscles strong so as to prevent injury.
    • Correct the mechanics – poor technique might be causing the problem.  Get advice from the club pro.
    • Rest and Ice – Give your body time to recover by resting the wrist and forearm muscles.  Placement of ice over the outside of the elbow three times a day for duration of 15 minutes is an effective way of controlling inflammation.

     

    Be sure to get assessed by a healthcare professional in order to ensure an accurate diagnosis as there are many conditions which may affect the elbow and its surrounding structures.

     

    Article by Dr. Khaled Dossa BSc (Kin), DC 

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