Understanding Tennis Elbow
Like many people, you might ask yourself, “What is tennis elbow, and can you get it if you don’t play the sport?” Tennis elbow is a common condition that doesn’t solely affect athletes. Under the right conditions, anyone could develop this painful condition in their arm, including painters, butchers, and musicians.
At REACH Rehab + Chiropractic, our skilled and experienced chiropractors routinely treat people with tennis elbow in Plymouth, MI, and its surrounding communities. Here, we share details about tennis elbow, how it develops, its symptoms, and the best treatment methods and exercises to fix it.
What Is Tennis Elbow?
So, what is tennis elbow? It’s a medical condition also known as lateral epicondylitis that people get when they overuse their elbow. Tennis elbow occurs due to inflammation or the micro tears within the tendons that connect the forearm’s muscles to the outside of the elbow.
People get tennis elbow by making repetitive motions with their arms like playing tennis. Still, anyone can get tennis elbow if they overwork those tendons in their forearms.
Common tennis elbow symptoms are:
- Radiating pain or burning on the outside of the elbow
- Weakened grip strength
- Stiffness when extending your arm
- Swollen elbow joint
- Night pain
Diagnosis and Complications of Tennis Elbow
An exam is key to a diagnosis. During the exam, the physician will assess your joint pain and check for stiffness and swelling.
To help diagnose your condition, your doctor may order diagnostic tests, like:
- MRI or CT scans to check for muscle and tendon damage
- X-rays to rule out other conditions like a bone fracture
- EMG to check for compressed nerves that could cause arm pain
If you don’t receive a prompt diagnosis for tennis elbow, your pain and inflammation could worsen. For example, it will become hard to perform physical activities. An accurate diagnosis is necessary for an effective treatment plan.
Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow
Rest is necessary for tennis elbow because it gives your tendons time to heal. Severe pain and inflammation may require advanced tennis elbow treatments like steroid injections or a tenotomy, a minimally invasive surgery that removes the affected tissue. Open surgery can repair the damage, but it comes with the risk of flexibility loss, infection, and a long rehabilitation period.
Chiropractic care can also help people overcome tennis elbow. At REACH Rehab + Chiropractic, we offer personalized treatment plans for elbow pain. We can identify the source of your problem and provide hands-on care to alleviate muscle, joint, or nerve pain.
Tennis Elbow Exercises
Targeted exercises can relieve tennis elbow symptoms by improving your strength and flexibility. For example, a fist clench exercise helps restore grip strength by improving forearm muscles.
To do the fist clench exercise, lay your arm flat on a table with your palm up. Hold a rolled towel or ball in your hand and squeeze it for 10 seconds. Release your grip and repeat 10 times.
You can also practice your wrist extension using a two-pound dumbbell. Sit with the dumbbell in your hand with your palm facing down. Curl your wrist toward your body to extend your wrist while keeping your arm still.
Practicing these exercises can help you maintain elbow health and prevent further injury.
Preventive Measures for Tennis Elbow
Regardless of your hobbies or profession, you can prevent tennis elbow, maintain your health, and reduce the risk of injury in several ways, like:
- Resting instead of pushing yourself through pain
- Ensuring your tennis rackets are a good fit for you
- Lifting weights to improve your wrist and forearm muscles
- Stretching your arms and wrists before working
- Wearing an elbow brace to prevent worsening symptoms
You can rely on the professionals at REACH Rehab + Chiropractic to help you stay healthy and strong through carefully crafted individualized care plans.
Taking Control of Your Tennis Elbow
The answer to, “What is tennis elbow?” is pain, swelling, and stiffness resulting from an overused forearm tendon. Anyone can develop the condition, even if they aren’t athletes, but REACH Rehab + Chiropractic in Plymouth, MI, is here to help.
Our team strives to empower patients to live healthier lives through holistic alternatives to pain relief and integrated approaches to identify and correct problems and prevent them from returning. Learn more about tennis elbow and schedule an appointment with REACH Rehab + Chiropractic at (734) 335-0212.