This complaint is common with tennis players, hence the name. Other groups of people who use their hands and arms a lot are also vulnerable, including machinists, sign-writers, painters, computer operators and builders.
- Pain that occurs below the elbow on the upper forearm
- Related to repetitive use of the hands or arms
- Pain is experienced when lifting or bending the arm or when you try to pick up an object
- The discomfort can continue for as little as 3 weeks or as long as several years
Tennis elbow is caused by grasping, twisting, snapping, lifting objects and other acts involving the hands whilst the wrist is extended backwards. An example of this is the way in which some tennis players tend to use their wrist to angle onto the ball, putting stress on the tendon on the outside of the elbow.
Care should be taken when lifting heavy objects as tennis elbow can often occur at these times, especially when the elbow locks into place with the arm extended.
- Magnesium may be of assistance to release spasmodic or cramping muscle pain
- Fish oil capsules may help to address inflammation
- Try using an arm/wrist support to help during the recovery period
- Your healthcare professional will probably recommend exercises to strengthen the wrist extensors and flexors
It is important to stop using the elbow and the arm in the way you have been doing. This means stopping the activity that is causing the pain or being especially careful in how you perform the task. If the task or activity is unavoidable, ensure that you warm up your arm muscles adequately before resuming the activity and take breaks frequently to stretch. If possible, space your tasks throughout the day to give your arms and hands a break from the repetitive activity.
Massage is often helpful to reduce tension in your muscles.
Ice packs reduce swelling and may also help to relieve pain. Regular and gentle stretches are also recommended.
Always lift objects appropriately – ask your healthcare professional the correct method.
A nice hot bath with relaxing aromatherapy oils such as lavender can do wonders for tired and sore muscles.