Epicondylitis or Tennis Elbow

One of the most common reasons people see doctors for elbow pain is from tennis elbow.  The pain from tennis elbow can range from mild to debilitating.  Though the damage is actually in the elbow, people who suffer tennis elbow usually feel pain when they are using their hands.  They may also experience pain along the length of the arm.

Tennis elbow is the common name for pain on the lateral side (the outside) of the elbow.  It is a type of tendinitis.  The pain is caused by Inflammation or irritation of the tendons connected to one or several of the forearm muscles.  If you are experiencing pain on the medial side (the inside) of the elbow, it is referred to as Golfer’s Elbow, or medial epicondylitis.  Golfer’s elbow is less prevalent than tennis elbow.

Tennis elbow refers specifically to the pain near the lateral epicondyle, the bony part close to the elbow joint.  This condition is called lateral epicondylitis, the inflammation of the epicondyle. Tennis elbow is typically developed over time, repetitive motions can put stress on the tendons and muscles, eventually causing small tears in the tissue.

Many activities can cause this sort of pain, not just tennis.   You can develop tennis elbow  by using your computer with poor wrist or arm posture, carrying heavy bags, knitting, raking, painting or even chopping up food.  Any activity that involves repetitive gripping, primarily of the thumb and first two fingers, can be a contributing factor.

Sports can also cause tennis elbow.  You are more at risk when using improper technique.  Tennis elbow may develop if you are trying out new rackets/equipment, if the equipment is too heavy or does not fit well, or if you increase the length and intensity of your activity without properly preparing your body.

Tennis elbow is painful and can make it difficult for you to carry on your daily activities.  The condition can make it difficult to grip or lift even small objects, like a coffee mug.  Lifting objects, opening doors or even shaking hands can become painful.  Small cases may be treated at home, but if you are experiencing long term pain or severe pain, you should consult a chiropractor.

Small cases of tennis elbow may heal on their own.  If you have mild tennis elbow try icing your elbow for 20 to 30 minutes every few hours for two or three days.  Give your elbow a break to try to heal.  Try gentle range of motion exercises, this can help to reduce stiffness.  While an anti-inflammatory can help with the pain and swelling, do not pills or painkillers as a solution.  Aside from the side effects of the drugs, ignoring the problem is not going to help you.  If rest and ice do not help the pain, you need to have the elbow looked at.  We can help diagnose and treat your elbow pain.

Dr. Elsey can help determine the exact cause of the issue and can begin the proper treatment.  If necessary Dr. Elsey can take an X-ray to rule out other possible causes of pain.  A variety of adjustments/treatments can be helpful in addressing tennis elbow, including the following: electrotherapy, massage, hot and cold treatments, stretching, or bracing.  Dr. Elsey may also suggest exercises and stretches to try at home to help treat the problem.

Take the first step toward healing, call our office and schedule an appointment today!