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Tennis Elbow

All you need to know about Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow or Lateral Epicondylitis a painful strain injury that occurs when the tendons mainly Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB) in the elbow are overloaded or degenerated by usual repetitive motions of the wrist and arm.

Tennis Elbow usually develops over time and tennis elbow treatment is advisable to rectify the issue. The cause of tennis elbow is due to repeated contraction of the forearm muscles that you use to straighten and raise your hand and wrist. The repeated motions and stress to the tissue may result in a series of tiny tears in the forearm muscles attached to a bony bump on the outside of the elbow called the lateral epicondyle. This pain can spread into the forearm and wrist. ⁣

The symptoms of Tennis Elbow develop gradually. In most cases, the pain begins as mild and slowly worsens over weeks and months. It is recommended to get tennis elbow treatment the moment you experience pain. There is usually no specific injury associated with the start of symptoms.

Understanding What Causes Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is a common condition characterised by pain and inflammation in the tendons on the outside of the elbow. While the name suggests a connection to tennis, the condition can affect anyone, regardless of whether they play tennis or not. Here’s a closer look at the various factors that contribute to the development of tennis elbow:

  1. Repetitive Strain: One of the primary causes of tennis elbow is repetitive motion or strain on the forearm muscles and tendons, particularly those involved in gripping, twisting, or lifting. Activities such as tennis, gardening, painting, carpentry, and typing can all contribute to the development of this condition over time.
  2. Improper Technique: Poor technique or form during activities that involve repetitive arm movements can increase the risk of developing tennis elbow. This includes using incorrect grip sizes or improper equipment in sports like tennis or golf, leading to excessive stress on the tendons of the elbow.
  3. Overuse: Overuse of the forearm muscles without adequate rest or recovery can lead to micro tears or degeneration in the tendons around the elbow joint. Engaging in repetitive activities for prolonged periods without proper rest can exacerbate this wear and tear, increasing the likelihood of developing tennis elbow.
  4. Age and Degeneration: As we age, the tendons in the elbow joint may undergo degenerative changes, becoming less flexible and more prone to injury. This natural ageing process can predispose older adults to develop tennis elbow, especially if they engage in repetitive activities or have a history of previous injuries.
  5. Muscle Imbalance: Imbalances in the strength and flexibility of the muscles in the forearm and upper arm can contribute to the development of tennis elbow. Weakness in certain muscle groups or tightness in others can alter biomechanics and increase stress on the tendons around the elbow joint.
  6. Previous Injury: A history of previous elbow or forearm injuries, such as fractures, sprains, or repetitive stress injuries, can weaken the tendons and predispose individuals to develop tennis elbow in the future.
  7. Occupational Factors: Certain occupations that require repetitive or forceful arm movements, such as construction work, plumbing, or manual labour, may increase the risk of developing tennis elbow. Prolonged exposure to these occupational hazards without proper ergonomics or protective measures can contribute to the onset of symptoms.

By understanding the various factors that contribute to the development of tennis elbow, you can take proactive steps to prevent or minimise the risk of injury. However, if you are already suffering from the condition, it is recommended to seek tennis elbow treatment in Singapore early to regain your quality of life.

Common symptoms of Tennis Elbow may include:

– Pain and tenderness in the bony bump on the outside of your elbow. This bump is where the injured tendons connect to the bone.
– Pain may also radiate into the upper or lower arm.
– Pain when you lift something, make a fist, grip an object, open a door, shake hands, raise your hand or straighten your wrist.

Steps to Diagnosing Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow can be diagnosed through a combination of medical history, physical examination, and, if necessary, imaging tests. Here’s how healthcare providers typically diagnose tennis elbow:

  1. Medical History: The healthcare provider will begin by taking a detailed medical history, including information about the onset and duration of symptoms, any activities or movements that exacerbate the pain, and any previous injuries or medical conditions that may be relevant.
  2. Physical Examination: During the physical exam, the healthcare provider will assess the affected area by palpating the outside of the elbow and noting any areas of tenderness or swelling. They may also ask you to perform specific movements involving the elbow, wrist, and fingers to evaluate range of motion, strength, and flexibility before commencing tennis elbow treatment.
  3. Imaging Tests: While medical history and physical examination are often sufficient for diagnosing tennis elbow, imaging tests such as X-rays, ultrasound, or MRI may be ordered if the healthcare provider suspects other underlying conditions or wants to rule out more serious injuries such as fractures or tears in the tendons.

Physical therapy is a form of tennis elbow treatment in Singapore. The goal of treatment is to improve the strength and flexibility of your forearm muscles. Tennis elbow treatment will include manual therapy, Cryotherapy, as well as kinesio taping to help improve blood flow to the tendons, and ease the pain. Personalised exercises that stretch and strengthen your muscles will also be prescribed to improve healing. As the pain decreases, you will be taught tips on how to change your tennis stroke or other activities that are causing your elbow troubles. If in doubt, please seek professional advice.

Strategies for Preventing Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow can be a painful and debilitating condition, but there are steps you can take to reduce the risk of developing it. Here are some preventive measures:

  1. Proper Technique: Using correct technique and form during activities that involve repetitive arm movements is crucial for preventing tennis elbow. Whether it’s playing sports like tennis or golf, or performing manual tasks like gardening or painting, ensuring proper grip size, equipment fit, and biomechanics can help reduce strain on the tendons of the elbow.
  2. Gradual Progression: Avoid overexertion and excessive force when starting new activities or increasing intensity. Gradually build up strength and endurance over time to allow the muscles and tendons to adapt to the demands of the activity without placing undue stress on the elbow joint.
  3. Warm-Up and Stretching: Prior to engaging in physical activity, warming up with gentle exercises and stretching can help prepare the muscles and tendons for movement and reduce the risk of injury. Focus on stretches that target the forearm, wrist, and shoulder muscles to improve flexibility and range of motion.
  4. Strength Training: Incorporating strength training exercises into your fitness routine can help improve muscular endurance and stability around the elbow joint. Focus on exercises that target the forearm, wrist, and upper arm muscles to build strength and support the tendons during repetitive movements.
  5. Use of Proper Equipment: Ensure that sports equipment, tools, and devices used during activities are properly sized, fitted, and maintained to reduce the risk of injury. Using equipment that is too heavy, too large, or in poor condition can increase the likelihood of developing tennis elbow.
  6. Rest and Recovery: Allow adequate time forest and recovery between activities to prevent overuse injuries. Listen to your body and take breaks when needed to avoid pushing through pain or discomfort. Incorporate rest days into your schedule to give the muscles and tendons time to repair and regenerate.
  7. Ergonomic Modifications: Make ergonomic adjustments to your workspace or environment to reduce strain on the elbow joint during daily activities. Use proper posture, ergonomic tools, and supportive equipment to minimise repetitive stress and maintain joint alignment.

However, if you are already suffering from the condition, it is recommended to seek tennis elbow treatment in Singapore early to prevent your condition from worsening.

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