Elbow pain usually develops over time. Repetitive motions — like gripping a racket during a swing — can strain the muscles and put too much stress on the tendons. That constant tugging can eventually cause microscopic tears in the tissue.
Injuries can occur to the tendons that attach to the elbow.
Lateral epicondylitis is an inflammation of the tendons of muscles that extend the hand backward and away from the palm.
● Pain develops in the outer aspect of the elbow and backside of the forearm.
● Ice, rest, analgesics, and exercises are usually effective.
The forearm muscles that are attached to the outer part of the elbow can become sore when stressed repetitively. The tendon that attaches these muscles to the elbow can become inflamed and very sore.
Lateral epicondylitis can be caused by repetitive movement like backhand returns in tennis. Other activities like doing forearm curls while holding weights or repeatedly and forcefully turning a screwdriver can also cause it.
Factors that increase the chance of developing lateral epicondylitis include having weak shoulder and forearm muscles, playing with a racket that is too tightly strung or too short, hitting the ball off-center on the racket (out of the sweet spot) and hitting heavy, wet balls. Hitting backhanded and allowing the wrist to bend increase the chance of developing lateral epicondylitis.
Pain occurs in the outside of the forearm when the wrist is extended away from the palm. Pain can extend from around the elbow to the middle of the forearm. Pain may be increased by firm gripping (handshaking) or even turning doorknobs. Continuing to stress the forearm muscles can worsen this condition and result in pain even when the forearm is not being used.
Medial epicondylitis is an inflammation of the tendons of the muscles that flex or bend the palm toward the wrist, causing pain on the inner aspect of the elbow and forearm.
This injury is caused by bending the wrist against resistance toward the palm repetitively. Actions that produce such force include serving with great force in tennis; using an overhand and a topspin serve; hitting heavy, wet balls; using a racket that is too heavy or that has a grip that is too small or has strings that are too tight; pitching a baseball, and throwing a javelin.
The poor technique when hitting the ball in golf can cause this inflammation as well—hence the term golfer’s elbow. The injury occurs when “hitting from the top” and is basically forcefully bringing the club with the right arm (right-handed golfer) down from the top of the swing, placing extreme stress on the flexor muscles of the right elbow instead of pulling down the club with the left arm and the body. Nonathletic activities that may cause medial epicondylitis include bricklaying, hammering, and typing.
Pain is felt on the inner aspect of the elbow and forearm. It is worse when the palm moves toward the wrist.
Management at AktivHealth:
Treatment of the pain at elbow requires an adequate rest from the injurious activities followed by active Rehabilitation.
Doctor may advise suitable anti-inflammatory drugs to relieve inflammation and suggest measures for promoting healing and functional restoration. After the pain has decreased, an exercise program that strengthens the wrist and shoulder muscles is begun. Surgery is rarely needed.