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Tennis elbow

Tennis elbow

Interesting Facts about Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a painful condition that occurs primarily on the outer aspect of the elbow, pain can also spread to the forearm and wrist. It is a classic repetitive strain injury which started out with just dull aching, gradually developing into a severe burning sensation and eventually leading to a loss in gripping strength. At some point, activities of daily living such as shaking hands, turning a doorknob or holding a cup of coffee may seem difficult.

The recovery process is promising if intervention is done properly at the early stage. Come and have a look at the interesting facts on the condition to have a better understanding:
It has nothing to do with tennis

Despite the name has a ‘tennis’ to it, fact is, it has nothing to do with it. As explained earlier, tennis elbow is a repetitive strain injury of the wrist and arm, resulting from doing the same movement again and again. People whose occupation particularly engage in the type of action which can lead to tennis elbow includes carpenters, butchers, gardeners, painters and plumbers.

Tennis elbow is not an inflammatory problem

Tennis elbow is in fact a degenerative problem. As the condition developed over time through repetitive actions which results in improper healing and degeneration of cells in the muscles of the tendon. The structure of the overused tendon, the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB), is distorted and loses its elasticity to function optimally. Evidence suggests that there may not be any signs of inflammation, especially in long term or chronic cases.

Icing, rest and pain medication won’t do it

The ability to identify the cause of this condition is important as it changes the course of treatment. Instead of icing, avoidance of movement and pain medication which all target on reducing the inflammation, a better way to address a degenerative tendon is to load it with weights gradually. 

Pain can be referred from the neck or shoulder

A thorough assessment of the neck and shoulder should also be included to rule out any referred pain. Besides that, examinations such as appearance, range of motion, and strength of the upper arm will be carried out to evaluate the severity of injury 

Cortisone injection is not the best treatment for tennis elbow

Physiotherapy treatment is said to be beneficial in the recovery of tennis elbow as compared to cortisone injection. Various studies have proven that cortisone injections provide placebo and positive outcomes during earlier stages but causes more damage in the long run.

On the other hand, studies have shown benefits of eccentric loading in such conditions. Exercises are targeted on the wrist extensors through eccentric loading to strengthen the degenerative tendon.