The outer bone of the elbow is called lateral epicondyle, it is a part of the humerus bone.
The tendons connected to the area can be damaged that leads to tendinitis or inflammation.
Tendinitis is a painful condition that is also called lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow.
There are many people who don’t know about lateral epicondylitis.
They simple say, I have elbow pain on the outer bone of my arm.
In this article, we will talk about tennis elbow in detail.
For the simple fact…
This is exactly what this condition is!
Read on to know what the causes of tennis elbow are and how you can treat it.
What is Lateral Epicondylitis?
Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is an agonizing condition that causes elbow pain on outside bone or forearm.
In this condition of tendinitis, the tendons are injured that leads to pain.
The tendons transfer muscle force to the bone.
The extensor carpi radialis brevis is the muscle that is involved, this is useful for stabilizing and straightening the wrist.
In such condition, there is a degeneration of the tendon that weakens the anchor site.
As a result, it places a huge stress on the area that causes pain.
When you perform activities that involve this muscle, you feel pain.
The pain can escalate when you perform daily activities like gripping or lifting things.
Some people can experience swelling on the elbow.
Dr. Howard Luks has an interesting article over here on this very topic.
There are many reasons that can cause tennis elbow.
The most common cause is the unusual vigorous activity of the hand and arm.
In most of the cases, tennis is connected to this condition, this is the reason it is called tennis elbow.
However, this sport is not the only reason for this condition, there are many other activities that can lead to tennis elbow.
This condition can occur if you have used the wrong equipment that has led to a pain.
For instance, you have used a racquet that is too heavy or you have used a racquet that had a large grip.
Another reason can be a bad technique or a wrong posture that you have used while playing a sport or working.
The tennis elbow can be caused by a direct hit to the elbow.
It can lead a swelling of the tendon that results in its degeneration.
Moreover, it increases the chance of overuse injury.
It is normally experienced by individuals between the ages of 30 to 50 years.
However, it can occur in both women and men of all ages.
Sometimes, it can be caused by working in a profession in which you have repetitive motions.
The symptoms of tennis elbow include elbow pain on outside bone.
The sensitivity in the bony knob of your elbow is another symptom of lateral epicondylitis.
There are chances that you might feel pain in your lower and upper arm as well.
You might face difficulty in doing activities using your hands.
Is your elbow extremely tender to the touch?
If so …
Be sure to definitely check out my post on what this really means – with quick tips and fixes to stomp out the tenderness fast!
The only way to diagnose that you have a tennis elbow is to see a doctor.
They will make you go through a series of tests to determine the area where it hurts.
You might need to get imaging tests like MRI or X-ray.
Treatment Options Available
In some cases, the patients stated that their pain went away with the passage of time.
There are numerous treatment methods for tennis elbow both surgical and non-surgical.
Let’s have a look at the non-surgical treatment for tennis elbow.
· Anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen and aspirin may help in alleviating swelling and pain.
· Giving your arm the rest it needs. You should not play any sport or perform any heavy work activities.
· Therapy is another non-surgical treatment for tennis elbow. There are some exercises that are good for the strengthening of your muscles. You can consult a therapist to know more about the exercises. The therapist might perform muscle stimulating technique or ice massage in order to improve the healing of your muscle.
· You can ice your elbow in order to get rid of pain and swelling. It is advised to ice your elbow for about 20 to 30 minutes after every 3 to 4 hours. You can do this until the pain is eliminated.
· Brace is also a good way to give your elbow the support and rest it needs. When you wear a brace, your muscles and tendons will relax; hence, alleviating the symptoms of tennis elbow. It will also prevent the strain to go further.
· Having steroids injections like cortisone is an effective way to ease the pain or swelling temporarily. It is not recommended for a long-term use.
· Motion exercises is a good for reducing the stiffness of your elbow. This will make your elbow flexible. You should consult your doctor before doing any exercise because there is a risk that you might may the condition worse.
· Extracorporeal shock wave therapy is another method that will help you get rid of tennis elbow. It will help in sending sound waves to your elbow that will form microtrauma. This will good for promoting the natural healing process of your body. There are some studies that prove this technique to be effective.
Read more information over at MedicineNet about this stubborn condition.
The only reason to opt for surgery is that your symptoms were not eliminated with non-surgical treatment.
The doctor usually performs a surgery if the symptoms have lasted for 6 to 12 months after other treatments.
The surgical process for treating tennis elbow involves taking out the degenerated and damaged tendon.
After removal of the muscle, the healthy muscles are reconnected with the bone.
The type of surgical procedure depends on several factors, they are:
· Your personal choice
· The extent of your injury
· Your health
Before deciding the surgical process, you need to talk to your doctor about the options, their results, and risk linked to them.
Open Surgery- it is the most used procedure that involves making an opening over your elbow, it is performed as an outpatient and you are not required to stay a night at the hospital.
Arthroscopic Surgery- in this tennis elbow is treated by using miniature equipment and small cuts.
It is also an outpatient process, so there is rarely a need for staying the night.
Risks Associated With Surgery
Here are the risks linked with the tennis elbow surgery.
· Loss of strength
· Damage to blood vessel and nerve
· Loss of flexibility
· Might require another surgery
There is a possibility that your arm might be immobilized after a surgery.
It will take 1 week before the splint and sutures are taken out.
Once these are removed, you are advised to start exercising to stretch your arm and make it flexible again.
You should start strengthening exercises for your arm after at least 2 months of surgery.
How to Prevent Lateral Epicondylitis
· The best way to prevent an elbow pain on outside bone is by not overusing your muscle. You should stop doing the activity if you feel pain.
· It is recommended to use the equipment that is suitable for you.
· You should always warm up and stretch before playing kind of sport.
· We advise you to ice your elbow after an exercise.
Recovering From The Lateral Epicondylitis
Recovering from tennis elbow is a time-consuming process that will heal with a passage of time.
Fortunately, you can speed up the process through physical therapy.
This will help you regain the motion of your arm.
It is crucial to have a strengthening program of your elbow before doing the regular activities.
Most of the people fear that they might not be able to get back to their regular routine after experiencing tennis elbow.
Well, you can get back to your normal routine after you have completely recovered.
It is not possible to tell how much time recovery will take because it relies on the extent of the injury to the tendon.
The rate of healing depends on you as everyone has a different recovering speed.
Furthermore, it is advised not to rush your recovery. This is because overusing your elbow before tennis elbow has been healed, will make it worse.
When you can do the following activities without feeling any pain, it means you are ready to get back to your routine:
· Gripping the objects
· Put weight on your arm or elbow
· You can move and flex your elbow
You can get back to your normal routine once the swelling has worn off or when it feels as strong as the other elbow.
You can talk to your surgeon to figure out the suitable treatment.
Therefore, tennis elbow is a painful condition that will go away with the passage of time.
There are many other ways to treat elbow pain on outside bone, you can choose any method for alleviating the pain.
It is crucial for you to consult a doctor and for determining the right treatment.