Repetitive motions cause tennis elbow. Although the name sounds like it is just a sports injury, doing any sort of motion over and over that involved a lot of motion in the elbow can cause tennis elbow. You do not have to be a great athlete or even athletic at all to get it!
Signs of tennis elbow
Tennis elbow is most often characterized by a lot of pain in the outer elbow. This pain can spread to the forearm and wrists as well. The grip will weaken, and will be painful during activities that use the wrist and elbow such as turning doorknobs or shaking hands. The outer elbow will hurt constantly and be very tender. This pain will almost feel like it is radiating to the rest of the lower arm. Meanwhile the wrist will hurt when moving and extended, such as moving the hand up and down with the palm down. The arm, wrist, and especially the elbow will be very stiff in the morning.
Treatment for tennis elbow
As soon as you think you have tennis elbow it is time to practice RICE. This acronym stands for “rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation”.
- Rest your arm as much as possible. Protect it from further damage as much as you can. A forearm splint worn at night may help the morning stiffness and prevent extra damage done during the night.
- Add a cold compact wrapped in fabric and keep it on the injured elbow and wrist as long as you can bear. Keep applying it until things get better.
- Keep the elbow and wrist wrapped with either compression braces or medical bandages. Do not remove these unless bathing and reapply them as soon as possible. Try to keep the tension even as it will help the healing. If your fingers begin to tingle or go numb, you have it too tight. Re-wrap your elbow and wrist more loosely.
- Keep your arm elevated as much as possible. Keeping your arm at heart level or higher is ideal.
If this plus some pain reliever does not work or you start showing a fever, you can not bend the elbow, or the arm looks deformed, see a doctor immediately. These symptoms are signs of a broken bone or a possible infection. Broken bones and infections are serious and require immediate medical attention or they will get worse.