Tennis Elbow

Perhaps one of the best-known sports injuries is tennis elbow, an overuse injury of a tendon in the elbow. Despite the name of the condition, it can actually be caused by any activity in which you flex and lift your wrist and hand repeatedly.

The most obvious symptoms of tennis elbow are, perhaps not surprisingly, elbow pain. This discomfort may radiate from the outside of the elbow, down to the wrist and hand, worsen over time and be accompanied by weakness in the lower arm.

Golfer’s elbow, another well-known condition, differs from tennis elbow because tennis elbow affects the outside of the elbow, whereas golfer’s elbow causes pain on the inside of the joint

Resting the injured arm, icing it, compressing it and taking over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain killers may help your elbow heal on its own. But if your elbow feels hot and inflamed, you think you might have broken a bone, or you can’t move your arm, see your doctor.  He or she may suggest you see a physical therapist to learn exercises that will lengthen and strengthen the muscles of your arms. You may also need to use a brace or strap to support the elbow and reduce stress on it. Finally, in about 10 percent of tennis elbow, surgery is necessary to either sever and then reattach the tendon, or trim the part of it that’s become inflamed.

Once you’ve recovered from tennis elbow, you can prevent it from coming back by continuing with the physical therapy exercises that helped your elbow heal, along with altering the movements that may have caused the injury, such as your tennis swing. This can help minimize reduce stress and strain on the elbow. In fact, by learning to protect your elbow, you may actually end up improving your tennis game!