These days the average person that has tennis elbow doesn’t even play tennis. What used to be a term reserved for athletes can now be achieved by painting too many coats of paint on your wall, typing on your computer, and other non grand slam activities. If you are feeling pain in your outer elbow that gets worse with pressure or use (typing, stretching, holding or gripping), then you may have tennis elbow even if you don’t know what 30 love means.
Tennis elbow or lateral epicondilytis refers to pain on the outside of the elbow. The syndrome is typically a tendinitis or overuse injury whereby the insertion of the the wrist extensor muscles (the muscles that bring the back of your hand towards your body) becomes inflamed. Typically the inflammation leads to the formation of fascial scar tissue which attempts to heal and strengthen the injured area, but instead often ends up forming a thick inflexible mass that glues the injured tendon to the surrounding tendons. When these tendons become stuck together movement of the wrist becomes painful.
There are other factors related to tennis elbow. The term tennis elbow originated from the frequency of this injury among tennis players. As you can imagine, in tennis a backhand puts a lot of stress on the wrist extensors which can become fatigued easily. It is the constant repetitive use of muscles that tires the muscles to the point that they become inflamed. Tennis elbow is quite common for office workers because of the use of the computer and the the continuous strain that typing puts on the wrist extensor muscles.
Often in tennis elbow injuries, there is also the presence of a nerve impingement called thoracic outlet syndrome. With the nerve supply for the wrist extensor muscles being decreased, the health of the muscle deteriorates to the point that it becomes more susceptible to injury from something as simple as typing. This is why it’s important when treating tennis elbow to also look for the presence of thoracic outlet syndrome.
Research has shown that tennis elbow can be healed through regular massage, fascial release, stretching and acupuncture.