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Posted on 12-03-2015
Author – Dr. Ryan Curda
The dreaded “Tennis Elbow” also known as lateral epicondylitis, attacking tennis enthusiasts all over the world. This type of injury occurs while performing a back handed swing. As the raquet makes contact with the ball, the force is transferred to the muscles on the back of your forearm and the get eccentrically stretched. The eccentric stretching causes many little tears where the muscle attaches to the bone on the lateral side of your elbow. Imagine that you are partially pulling apart two pieces of Velcro yet leaving them attached. That is kind of what is happening in your arm. Little tears create inflammation, swelling, and pain at the attachment. Treatment can consist of managing the inflammation, supportive taping or bracing, myofascial or cross friction release, and trading down to a smaller racquet.
Tennis elbow's counterpart is Golfer's elbow, or Medial epicondylitis. It is the same condition affecting the medial aspect of your elbow instead of the lateral. It occurs most commonly and hence where it got its name from when golfers take a swing and take a large divot out of the ground. The resulting force that travels through the club and into the golfer's forearm causes that eccentric stretching of the medial forearm muscles.
Either condition is generally not serious and usually does not require surgery. Conservative management combined with patient education as to how their swing should be modified for future play gets lasting results to allow them to continue to play the games they love. Determining the proper diagnosis and cause is the first step to relieving your elbow pain no matter what you play, because not everybody plays tennis or golf.
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-Dr. Ryan Curda
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