13 May What Is Tennis Elbow and What Are Some Ways I Can Avoid Causing It?
Patients with elbow injuries are far fewer in number than those with knee, wrist, and ankle injuries, but elbow injuries can be just as painful and disruptive to everyday life. Like many other injuries, tennis elbow is not limited to athletes. Tennis elbow can prevent you from performing daily tasks, playing sports, and moving regularly.
Let’s look at the measures you can take to lower your chances of suffering from such an injury.
What Is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow, also called lateral epicondylitis, is an overuse injury that causes pain and swelling. It affects the tendons or the fibrous tissue connecting the muscles in the forearm to the outer side of the elbow. The continuous overload on your elbow can lead to small tears in the tendons over time.
The injury can be caused by repetitive arm and wrist movements or gripping a racket too tightly. It’s commonly experienced by people who play racket sports, hence the condition’s name. Tennis elbow, however, is not only a sports injury. People from other professions can also develop the injury, like painters, carpenters, musicians, manicurists, gardeners, and chefs. Athletes like fencers, bowlers, and baseball players often suffer from it, as well.
Some of the most common symptoms of tennis elbow include:
- Weakened grip
- Pain when performing arm movements like twisting, bending, or extending
- Tenderness or pain on the outer side of the elbow
Tennis elbow usually develops on your dominant side, but if you make certain movements and gestures, you may get injured on both elbows.
Ways to Prevent Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is directly related to your level, intensity, and frequency of activity. You can avoid developing the injury by keeping your movements, gestures, and rest periods in check. Here are some measures you can take to lower your chances of developing tennis elbow:
Warm Up and Cool Down
Perform warm-up exercises and stretches before you play sports that require repetitive movements. You should also do this if your work involves similar gestures. That way, you can ease your muscles and joints into the activity. In addition, perform cool-down exercises for your arms and elbows after sports or work. This helps your body transition back to its resting state and may help prevent you from feeling pain afterward.
Perform Strength Exercises
If you strengthen your arms, especially your forearm muscles, you increase their capacity for performance and pressure. You’ll be able to do more repetitions of a particular movement, and you won’t get tired as easily. Your elbows will also experience less strain if your forearms are strong and you have control over your movements.
Get Adequate Rest
Rest is an integral aspect of injury prevention and recovery. You should pace yourself when engaging in activities that put strain on your elbows. This means taking breaks when working or playing sports and assigning rest days between workout schedules.
Listen to your body. If you feel pain or discomfort, halt your movements and let your body rest. Don’t try to push through the pain.
Use the Right Equipment
Using the correct type of equipment can also help you avoid developing tennis elbow. If you play racket sports, you may want to opt for gear with a larger grip size. This allows you to put more force behind your movements with less effort and lessens the pressure on your forearm. You can also use a tennis elbow splint to help you avoid sustaining damage and small tears on your tendons.
Improve Your Form and Technique
It’s essential to check your form and technique when working or playing sports. If you keep performing movements with poor technique or improper form, you may be putting untoward pressure on your forearms.
A physical therapist can tell you what you’re doing right and what you can still improve. They can also help you pace your activity level or recommend exercises you can do to strengthen your arms.
Seek Medical Assistance
You should consult with your healthcare provider if you observe symptoms of tennis elbow. Early detection is always best when it comes to handling injuries. That way, you can receive adequate treatment and take measures to prevent any further damage.
Tennis Elbow Treatment in Gunnison and Crested Butte, CO
Tennis elbow is an overuse injury that can hinder you from living life to the fullest. Taking precautions and adopting preventative measures can reduce your risk of developing it. It’s best to consult with an orthopedic doctor about any hand, wrist, or elbow injury; our Hand and Upper Extremity Division at gO Orthopedics, led by Dr. Rhett Griggs, is here to help.
Our highly trained orthopedic trauma surgeons at gO Orthopedics specialize in tennis elbow and other injuries like skier’s thumb. Fellowship-trained Dr. Griggs has treated patients with the most complicated hand and arm injuries and disorders.
If you’re looking for a clinic that offers tennis elbow treatment in Colorado, call our Gunnison office at (970) 641-8899 or our Crested Butte office at (970) 349-5103. We look forward to getting you back Better than BeforeTM!