Tennis Elbow

Photo Credit: Kos Public Domain
Painful joints, tendons and muscles of the elbow may indicate a condition known as lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow. As the name implies, tennis players who have not perfected the backhand return can suffer strained tendons that cause the pain of tennis elbow. Anyone may suffer this condition. Tennis elbow is caused by overworked tendons. People who engage in repetitive motions of the wrist and arm can be susceptible to tennis elbow. The pain may remain localized in the elbow or it can spread to the forearm and wrist. Severe tennis elbow pain can be debilitating. It can be difficult to turn a doorknob, pick up a coffee cup or hold a cooking pot by the handle. Tennis elbow will usually clear up on its own with some basic home-treatments. See a doctor if rest, ice and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory pain relievers do not relieve symptoms of tennis elbow. 
Tennis elbow can affect anyone who engages in repetitive motion of the hand, wrist and arm, but some people are more susceptible to this painful condition. Chefs, painters, carpenters, plumbers and butchers often suffer from tennis elbow because of the daily repetition of the same arm movements. There are some ways to avoid this condition. First, learn the proper form when playing tennis, racquetball or golf. The swinging motion of the arm can result in stressed and injured tendons if the movement is not properly executed. When repetitive motions at work are the cause of tennis elbow, change to a more ergonomic way of performing the task. Raise or lower your chair if excessive use of a computer mouse is the culprit. Change the standard keyboard and computer mouse to ergonomically designed versions. Take frequent breaks from performing repetitive movements to stretch your arm muscles. Continue mild to moderate exercise as elbow pain allows and perform some stretching and strengthening exercises twice daily. Hold each exercise for up to 30 seconds and do up to 10 repetitions. 
Sit on a sturdy chair, bend the affected elbow and place your forearm on your thigh. Hold a light, 1-pound dumbbell in your  hand with your palm down, facing the floor. Your hand with the weight should be extended beyond your knee, far enough to allow the wrist and hand to move up and down without touching your knee. Slowly lift your wrist up toward the ceiling. Hold the position and then slowly lower your wrist down toward your knee and hold the position. After performing 10 repetitions, do the same exercise with your palm facing the ceiling while holding the dumbbell. Strengthen the tendons and muscles of your forearm by holding a dumbbell in your hand and extending your arm straight out in front of your body. Hold a dumbbell in your hand so that it is perpendicular to the floor. Your palm should be pointed toward your body. Rotate your hand and wrist until your palm is pointed at the floor. Slowly rotate back to the start position. 

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