How To Recognize Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is a very painful condition where the outer or lateral part of the elbow becomes painful and tender. This is normally as a consequence of overuse or a specific strain, such as over extending the elbow, or put another way, straightening the arm too quickly or with too much force. As much as anything it is caused by a one handed backhand with poor technique, or the snap caused by coming late to a forehand shot, or a fast service where wrist pronation increases the wrist snap. Just about everyone calls it tennis elbow, but it is not only tennis players who suffer from it. In fact anyone who lifts a lot in their job, or uses their wrist in repeated movements are susceptible to tennis elbow. In this way it is almost a repetitive strain injury.
Tennis elbow has been a recognised medical condition since 1883 and is known medically as ‘Lateral Epicondylitis’. The symptoms of Tennis Elbow are quite simply pain on the outer part of the elbow, and gripping and movements of the wrist hurt, especially wrist extension and lifting movements. Put another way lifting a cup of tea, or a glass of beer will hurt, and it will be impossible to throw a ball without elbow pain running down the forearm. It is important to realise that over 50% of all tennis players will suffer from Tennis Elbow at some time. Having said that, the vast majority of all cases of tennis elbow don’t involve tennis players at all.
A differential diagnosis of tennis elbow is important, for it is easily confused with Golfer’s Elbow, and Bursitis. The pain with Golfer’s elbow is on the inside and not the outside of the elbow. The pain with Bursitis is at the back of the elbow, and is often caused by a direct blow or a fall onto the tip of the elbow. If you don’t get it treated then tennis elbow can become chronic, and very difficult then to ever get rid of it.