Lateral epicondylitis, commonly referred to as tennis elbow is a repetitive stress injury involving the muscles and tendons of the forearm. Despite the name, only about 5 percent of individuals develop the condition from playing tennis.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is characterized by pain along the outer portion of the forearm that may extend from the elbow to the wrist. The pain is usually most noticeable when bending or lifting the arm, grasping small objects, when moving the forearm in a twisting fashion, or when extending the arm. With proper care and rest, most lateral epicondylitis cases resolve within six months to two years.
Coping With Tennis Elbow Pain
At the first sign of tennis elbow pain, it is important to refrain from any activities that may place stress on the tendons and muscles of the forearm. When possible, try to use the muscles of the forearm, upper arm, and shoulders evenly so that one muscle group does not become overused. When engaging in sports, such as racquetball, tennis, or squash, be sure to use proper form and technique to reduce the chances of strain and injury to muscles and tendons. Warming up before activities that require repetitive movements, using tools and equipment with wider grips, and wearing splints can also help prevent damage to the tendons.
Exercises for Tennis Elbow
The following exercises can help strengthen the forearm muscles so that they are less prone to injury:
- Wrist Stretches
Place the forearm on a table allowing the wrist to hang off of the edge with the palm up. Holding a light weight, lift and drop the wrist slowly.
- Extensor Stretches
With the wrist bent, grasp the fingers with the opposite hand and gently pull them backward to stretch the muscles and tendons of the forearm.
- Tricep Stretches
With the arm bent behind the back, use the opposite hand to place pressure on the affected elbow.
- Hand Squeezes
Holding a tennis or similar type ball in the affected hand, practice squeezing and relaxing the hand several seconds at a time.
For more information about available treatment options for tennis elbow, contact our office today to schedule a consultation with one of LA Hand Surgeon’s finest plastic hand surgeons. Our selection of Beverly Hills surgeons includes board-certified plastic and reconstructive surgeons Dr. Arezou Yaghoubian, Dr. S. Daniel Golshani, Dr. James Coleman.