Contrary to its name tennis elbow is not just caused by playing tennis, any activity that involves gripping and twisting of the forearm can cause this type of strain – most cases aren’t actually related to tennis or any kind of exercise.
Tennis elbow is caused by a strain to tendons in the forearm. The tendons become inflamed where they join the bony part on the outside of your elbow joint. If you are suffering from tennis elbow the outside of your elbow will feel tender to the touch and there may be swelling. You may also have pain further down your forearm. It can be aggravated by repetitive movements of the wrist, especially if you are gripping and lifting.
So if you feel you are getting tennis elbow symptoms, what should you do to help yourself?
The first thing you can do to help is to adapt any movements that may be causing your symptoms. For example, lift objects with your palms facing upwards and elbows bent.
Painkillers such as paracetamol and ibuprofen may help and you should use them if you need to (but only take them if it is safe to do so.) Don’t wait until your pain is severe before taking painkillers. You can also rub anti-inflammatory cream directly onto the painful area and use ice to calm the inflammation.
If your elbow pain is affecting your activity and is persisting, you should see a Physiotherapist.
Physiotherapy can help you to manage pain and improve your strength and flexibility. A physiotherapist can provide a variety of treatments, help you understand your problem and get you back to your normal activities.
They may recommend an epicondylitis clasp, which can help reduce the strain on your elbow if you need to make repetitive hand and elbow movements, for example while you’re working.
If in any doubt seek advice from your Physiotherapist at The Harrison Clinic.