Tennis elbow

Lateral Epicondylitis

Summary of Lateral Epicondylitis

Lateral Epicondylitis is more commonly known as tennis elbow, and occurs when overuse of the wrist and hand – often during sports such as tennis – causes pain around the elbow and forearm.

Lateral Epicondylitis

Lateral Epicondylitis is a common condition associated with pain and swelling around the elbow and forearm. It is often caused by overuse of the muscles within the forearm, which leads to inflammation and small tears in the muscles and tendons within the elbow.

A gradual descension of pain around the lower arm, elbow and forearm is the most common symptom. There will also be some form of tenderness around the elbow, which will be made worse by gripping actions or turning the forearm.

Recovery time depends on the cause of the condition, but recovery can take anything from a couple of weeks to 6 months. Early intervention will help to hasten recovery and ensure this time is no longer than it needs to be.

The muscles that move the wrist and fingers are prone to overuse and it is this which causes the condition. Other actions can be those which rotate the forearm, or excessive sports that rely on the wrist and forearm such as tennis. Activities that further provoke the issue include any kind of turning action, such as turning a key, a door handle or a screwdriver.

The first step in treatment will be to identify the cause and treat this directly, including the actions that are provoking the symptoms. If caused by sports, a clinician will look at your activity and possibly advise taking a break from the sport for a period of recovery time.

Simple exercises will be prescribed to deal with the muscles that may have become weak. An elbow strap is another good way to combat the pain and tension felt within the muscles, and is often combined with heat treatment, gentle massage and anti-inflammatory medications.

The clinician will apply direct treatments to the area around the muscles and tendons, but will require you to perform stretches to the muscles to help increase extensibility and realign any scar tissue. At the later stages of recovery, strengthening exercises may be introduced to gradually and progressively address and weakness of the surrounding muscles.

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