Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is characterised by shooting pains around the outside of the elbow, on the bony lump known as the lateral epicondyle. In most cases of tennis elbow, it is the hand that is used the most that is affected. Performing twisting motions, such as turning a door handle or opening the lid of a jar, are especially painful. Tennis elbow is similar to golfer’s elbow, which affects the inside of the arm, but only affects the outside of the arm. In most cases the symptoms eventually improve naturally, but appropriate treatment can help speed the healing process.
As the name suggests, tennis elbow can result from playing tennis and other racquet sports, although there are many other causes. Tennis elbow results from minor injury or tears in the muscles of the forearm due to overuse or repeated actions including swimming and throwing sports, such as a cricket, javelin or discus, etc. Tennis elbow can also be work-related, especially where tasks involve repetitive turning or lifting of the wrist, such as plumbing, shearing and bricklaying.
Treatment can include one or more of the following:
- Shock wave therapy
- Anti-inflammatory painkillers
- Corticosteroid injections
- Surgery – if symptoms persist
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