Tennis elbow is a specific form of tendinitis that occurs in the elbow. Tendinitis is swelling of the tendons that results in a painful and burning sensation in the affected area.
As its name indicates, tennis players are common sufferers of this version of tendinitis due to the consistent torque that is placed on the elbow of their strong hands; however, athletes in any sport can be afflicted with tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow can be painful, but it can also prevent you from reaching your full athletic potential, hindering your game-time performance. Keep yourself in peak physical condition by watching for signs of tennis elbow and preventing sports injuries at all cost.
Signs of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow starts off as a slow tingling, burning or pain sensation in the elbow and progressively becomes more noticeable. If you start to feel pain when you bend your arm or place pressure on your elbow by lifting or swinging, it could be an early indicator of tennis elbow. Don't ignore this pain, especially if it worsens or persists. Seek the advice of a trusted local chiropractor or sports medicine specialist right away to prevent aggravating your elbow further.
Causes of Tennis Elbow
Repetitive movements - Performing the same movement again and again can strain the tendons and ligaments around your elbow. As this tissue stretches and strains, it becomes more prone to injury.
Improper technique - Consecutive repetitions can be exacerbated by improper technique. Unnatural movements can place further strain on your elbow and more quickly lead to tennis elbow.
Overuse - If you start to notice pain in your elbow and you continue to workout, it could be a matter of time before the tendons in your elbow become inflamed. There is only so much use your body can take before it breaks down.
Preventing Tennis Elbow
Preventing injuries is critical to maintaining a fit and healthy life long-term. Getting in extra reps, practice and workouts may seem beneficial, however, once elbow injuries start, your elbows will be more prone to future injuries. Starting good habits early in your sports career will keep your elbows functioning at their best.
Listen to your body - Tennis elbow is a slow developing condition, which means that you can detect signs of tennis elbow before the condition arises. Resting your elbow when it's in pain or tired will prevent inflammation and overuse.
Develop strength and flexibility in and around the elbow - Make sure that your arms are strong and flexible enough to play your sport of choice to keep your elbow from sustaining tendinitis. Trying to get your elbow to do something it's never done before puts it at risk. Make sure you develop yourself properly to endure the rigors of your sport of choice.
Always warm up - Start slow to acclimate your body to the fast-paced movements you'll perform during practice and competitions. Forcing stiff muscles and tendons to perform intense, twitching motions will place significant strain on them.
Take care of yourself - You would never start a road trip in your car without gas, so don't expect your body to perform without proper nutrients and rest. As an athlete, you're going to require more protein, nutrients and sleep to perform on the court. Not taking care of your body puts you at risk of injury.
Treating Tennis Elbow
Treatment for tennis elbow is a fairly straight forward and slow process. Often, athletes are simply required to ease up, which means avoiding the use of the injured elbow and resting. Anti-inflammatory medications, such as ibuprofen, can be taken alongside an ice routine to reduce swelling.
Physical therapy can help rebuild strength in the injured arm to prevent continued instances of tendinitis. Allow the swelling to go down first before rehabilitating your elbow. Speak with a chiropractor or sports medicine physician to make sure you're ready to begin exercises.
In severe cases of tennis elbow, surgery can be used to remove damaged tendons. Arthroscopy is the surgery of choice, which requires a small incision to access the injured joint. Once inside, the doctor can remove or mend injured tendons and sew or staple the incision. This is a short procedure and patients can go home the same day.
If you notice the signs of tennis elbow, find a trusted chiropractor or orthopedist near you to prevent further complications and get the treatment you need to get back to your peak performance.