Tennis elbow is a medical condition characterized by soreness, pain or inflammation on the lateral epicondyle of the arm usually just next to the elbow. The pain associated with this condition usually occurs when the arm is extended and often overexertion will be common.
Causes of Tennis Elbow
The arm muscles can suffer injury or small tears when exposed to muscle overuse or forceful muscle movement(s). Excessive muscle use which involves straightening of the arm wrist, can lead to injury of the tendons both on the elbow and arm which in turn may lead to occurrence of small tears and which in turn may lead to the development of rough tissues on the bony lumps of the arm. Often tennis elbow is thought to be caused by playing the tennis game. In as much this might be a cause, there are several other things that may cause tennis elbow including;
- Various sports activities including swimming, javelin, discus, squash and other racquet sports. Such sports usually involve moving of the arms and at times the arms can be injured by accidental forceful movement of the arm leading to injury or occurrence of tiny tears.
- Repetitive manual work like load lifting or turning, typing, gardening, use of scissors can also cause tennis elbow.
Basically, tennis elbow will be a result of damage or injury to the arm or elbow ligaments, muscles or tendons. Muscles are made up of micro tears and such are responsible for movement regulation. The tears are also responsible for the occurrence of pain and inflammation which may end up forming calcium deposits and scarring of the tissues making up the tendons and muscles. If the scars are left untreated they kind of pressure the nerves surrounding the arm thereby limiting or even completely cutting off blood flow to the muscle.
Butchers, construction workers, painters, cooks and plumbers due to the repetitive movement nature of their work are at higher risks of getting tennis elbow from time to time.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
The dominant hand which is the right hand for many people is usually the most affected by tennis elbow as in many case, it is the one that is used and sometimes overused. However, tennis elbow can also affect the non-dominant arms in cases whereby the hand is used to perform repetitive tasks like when typing or moving loads. Some of the symptoms of tennis elbow may include
- Pain or inflammation. The pain may be concentrated around the elbow area and such may increase when stretching the hand to hand hands or to squeeze objects. The pain may be worsened by forcefully moving the wrist when using tools, lifting the hand, handling objects etc.
- Weak grasp
- Morning stiffness
- Elbow point tenderness
- General movement restriction and sometimes numbness and tingling may be experienced.
Averagely, a single tennis elbow episode will last anything ranging from 6 months to about 2 year to fully recover and the pain can be anything from a mere discomfort to very severe pain especially when lifting the arm to perform various tasks. During the period, it is also possible that you suffer arm stiffness that may be progressively be worsening as the injury worsens and sometimes the pain and stiffness may be spread to other parts of the body especially the neck and shoulders.
Home Remedies for Tennis Elbow
There are quite a number of home remedies that can be used to relieve the pain or inflammation associated with tennis elbows for faster recovery. Here are a number of some effective home remedies for tennis elbow. Remember, you should always consult with your physician in order to get a proper diagnosis and before trying to incorporate these home remedies yourself!
- Calendula oil. Apply the oil onto the affected or otherwise inflamed area for pain relieve and comfort. For better results, consider applying the oil at least twice a day. Avocado oil application can also give the same pain relieving effects.
- Rest- Getting enough rest and relaxation to allow for the healing of the damaged or injured tendons or muscles. Rest every part of the body that is affected by the development of tennis elbows including the neck, shoulders, wrist, forearm or even the fingers. While at it, avoid any kind of activities that may be trigger inflammation or pain. Get as much rest as you may desire for the muscles to completely heal even if it takes a few days or a number of months.
- Ice– Using cold packs or ice. Applying cold packs or ice onto the affected area a number of days for about 15 minutes in each session can help relieve the pain and inflammation. When applying the cold compresses, you can put a thin piece of cloth between your skin and the ice. Alternatively, you can do hot compresses for the same kind of effects.
- Hot potato poultice. Bake some potatoes, wrap some in a towel and apply that onto the affected are. This will be effective for pain relief and in the reduction of the swelling. Alternatively, dampen a piece of cloth with some Zostrix and wrap the piece onto the inflamed area. This will reduce the inflammation and make it easier to move about the elbow.
- Bandages– Try wrapping or bandaging the inflamed are. Properly wrapping the affected area can help evenly distribute the pressure on the elbow, prevent swelling and even enhance blood circulation.
- Try This– Try out some kind of arm elevation to see if they help relief the pain. Do this slowly to avoid exerting too much pressure on the arm. If it helps, repeat it a number of times every day. This can enhance quick recovery. Alternatively, you can choose to perform a number of stretching exercises or warm up activities to reduce muscle stiffness.
- Warm Up– Once the pain is relieved, continue doing some warm up exercises before indulging on any hard or strenuous activities.
- Try This– Finally, if your tennis elbow is caused by your job, it is important that you learn how to use your equipment properly and how to position your body and especially the arm before, when and even after using the equipment to avoid cases of tendon injury.
- Turmeric- Turmeric is herb that is prevalent in Asia and other parts of Africa. It is among the ideal herb for offering herbal remedy to tennis elbow. This is due to the fact that, it has the ability to cool and stimulate the inflammation caused by tennis elbow. It is applied directory on the paining elbow and the pain disappears in a while. Nevertheless, one need to use it in its proper dosage, for it has several side effects
- Meadowsweet- This is the other herb that has for long been used for offering herbal remedy to tennis elbow. It is herb that grows in meadows and moist places. It is most common in South America and has for multiple health benefits. It has antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties, which in return gives it the ability to reduce the pain that comes with tennis elbow. In addition, it has the ability to counter the inflammation of the tendons that surrounds the elbow. It also ought to be used in its right dosage, thanks to its many side effects it has while used in large quantities.
- White Willow- White willow is the other ideal herbal remedy for tennis elbow. It is herb that is common in Europe, Asia and some parts of Northern America. It has many ingredients such as salicin and which has both anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant properties. In return, this gives the herb the ability to reduce the pain that emanates from inflammation of elbow tendons.
- Angelica- Apparently, angelica is among the garden herbs that has for long been used as herbal remedy to many diseases and conditions, with tennis elbow being one of them. Just like the other herbal remedies that are used for countering this condition, angelica has the ability to reduce inflammation of the elbow's tendons alongside eliminating the pain that is caused by this condition. It should also be used in small dosages and according to the doctor's prescription, lest it cause some negative effects on the body.
Diet For Tennis Elbow
Eating the right foods can help deal with the inflammation, pain or soreness caused by tennis elbows. Some of the best foods to help you counter the pain include
- Omega 3 fatty acids foods like mackerel, tuna, salmon and flax seeds. These can be effective in reducing the pain on the elbow as well on relieving the joints.
- Walnuts, broccoli, avocadoes, whole grains, spinach and cabbage are also instrumental in effecting proper muscle health.
- Ginger and celery. Celery has anti-inflammatory properties desired for relieving pain associated with tennis elbows. Consumption of ginger tea can also help relieve effects of tennis elbows.
Prevention of Tennis Elbow
There are various ways and methods that can be used to prevent tennis elbow including:
- Proper prior activity preparations it is highly important that you prepare your muscles way before taking to strenuous activities which may require you to use your arms in lifting or off loading. Warm up the tendons and muscles by slowing moving then and with time you can choose to accelerate the movement speed. Warming up will ensure proper blood circulation in the arms thus allowing for sufficient supply of nutrients and oxygen which in turn will lower the chances of injuring the muscles during real workout activity.
- Regular muscle exercising can also help prevent tennis elbow. Exercising the muscles can help the muscles gain better flexibility which in turn will be helpful in preventing muscle sprain or strains. Once your muscles are well exercised, they will be supple and thus be in better position to better move freely.
- Ability and experience. Ability is basically the extended to which you are freely able to extend or stretch your arms to. It is important that you determine this ability and try sticking to it even when carrying out your duties as such will limit you from straining the muscles. It is also important that you properly learn the skill of your sport before indulging in it to avoid cases of injury.
- Others ways of preventing tennis elbow may include but not limited to, decreasing the number of hours spend in any strenuous activity that may trigger more pain especially if already feeling pain or if already injured, try out various workouts to enhance joint stability, using of the right playing equipment and in the right way during sporting, enhancing proper physical stability, strength and shape and finally employing tasks to help you strengthen your muscles and tendons.
- Wearing of the right playing gears like counterforce brace when involved in games that will require various or strenuous arm movements. A brace is highly recommendable as such will; help evenly distribute pressure on the arm thus restricting cases of tendon or muscle injury.
- Avoid overuse of activities.
- Enroll in muscle rehab exercises and programs.
It is quite easy to get tennis elbow even for those who do not do tennis. Improper body postures and improper handling of equipment especially when out sporting can lead to the development of tennis elbow. Just as it is easy to get it, it is quite easy to prevent tennis elbow from occurring simply by practicing proper postures and use of equipment.
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