Tennis elbow is a repetitive motion injury that affects the mechanics of the arm. It is seen frequently in individuals who play tennis, but can be caused by any repetitive motion. The pain travels from the outside of the elbow down to the wrist and fingers. The pain can be more notable or “sharper” when gripping something like a cup or a book.

Tennis elbow is named for a sport, but the injury is focused on repetitive injury of any sort.

Typically tennis elbow can be alleviated by over-the-counter and at-home remedies. A non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen should help with the pain along with ice therapy and rest.

However, if the pain does not go away with at-home care or there are more concerning symptoms, like the skin feeling hot to the touch or sharp consistent pains, a doctor should be consulted.

Treatments for tennis elbow include:

  • Acupuncture: This procedure is performed by a licensed acupuncturist and involves the placement of needles into the skin. These needles promote the flow of energy in the body and can enhance the natural healing process.
  • Corticosteroid injections: Injections of medications that reduce inflammation and pain can also be used to treat this type of injury. Your doctor will work with you to develop a strategy.
  • Physical therapy: This can provide you with exercises you can do to strengthen the injured muscle or the muscles around it to regain your full range of motion.

A doctor will also be able to work with you to develop a plan that allows you to resume regular activity.

A similar condition to tennis elbow is called golfer’s elbow. This is caused by improper technique in any throwing sports, racket sports, or weight lifting. The primary difference between the two conditions is the source of the pain. While tennis elbow radiates from the outside of the elbow down the arm, golfer’s elbow is noticeable on the inside of the arm.

If you are concerned about a repetitive injury motion that has been caused by sports or other fitness activities, talk with your doctor or specialist about a proper diagnosis and the right course of action for treatment.

Do you play tennis or engage in other repetitive activities that could lead to tennis elbow?

Image by Tulane Public Relations via Flickr

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