Did you know that you can suffer from tennis elbow even if you’ve never even picked up a tennis racket before?
Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a swelling of the elbow that causes a painful condition that affects your elbow if it has been overused. More specifically, tennis elbow causes the swelling of your tendons, which causes your wrist to bend backward away from your palm. Tennis elbow can be caused by physical trauma to your elbow, but more often from repeated stress on your elbow tendons from playing sports or using certain tools regularly. But yes, playing tennis can also cause this, of course.
Causes Of Tennis Elbow
- Weak shoulder and wrist muscles
- Improper backhand stroke when playing tennis
- Using a tennis racket that is not suitable for you (I.e. it is too short or too tightly strung)
- Playing other racquet sports like racquetball or squash
- Painting with a brush or roller
- Operating a chainsaw on a regular basis
- Frequent use of other hand tools
- Using repeated hand motions in various other professions, like meat cutters, musicians, dentists and carpenters
- Most people who suffer from tennis elbow are between the ages of 30 and 50, but anyone can get tennis elbow if they have the risk factors
- Sometimes, tennis elbow can occur without repetitive injury or motions. This is known as “insidious” or of an unknown cause
What Are The Symptoms Of Tennis Elbow?
Symptoms usually develop gradually, worsening with time. These are the most common symptoms of tennis elbow:
- Pain, burning or aches along the outside of your forearm or and elbow
- Pain worsens with time
- If continuing the activity that caused early signs of tennis elbow, symptoms worsen and pain may spread down to your wrist, even while resting
- Pain may also persist when placing your hand palm-side down on a table and then try to raise your hand against resistance
- You may feel pain when you try to lift and grip small objects, like a cup
- Having a weak grip is another symptom of tennis elbow
These symptoms might be a sign of other medical problems or conditions. You should always consult with your healthcare professional for proper diagnosis.
How Is Tennis Elbow Diagnosed?
Your doctor usually can diagnose your tennis elbow through conducting a physical exam. But in some unique cases, you might have to undergo certain tests, like:
- An x-ray to look at the bones in your elbow to determine whether or not you have arthritis in your elbow
- An MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) is able to show your tendons and how severe the damage has become. If an MRI is taken of your neck, it can show arthritis in the neck or disk problems in the spine that is causing arm pain
- EMG (electromyography) of the elbow can show if you have any nerve problems that may be causing your pain
How Is Tennis Elbow Treated?
You must try your best to avoid the movement that causes your tennis elbow in the first place. Treatment can include:
- Getting rest and stopping the activity or movement that caused the symptoms
- The use of ice packs to reduce inflammation in the elbow
- Doing strengthening and stretching exercises
- Consumption of anti-inflammatory medicines like ibuprofen
If these treatments are not working for your specific case, your health practitioner might suggest other treatments, such as:
- Using a brace for your elbow to keep it still for a couple weeks or the use of a special brace during activities
- The injection of steroids to reduce localized swelling and pain
- Using a special ultrasound to break up scar tissues, increase blood flow and promote natural healing
- Or surgery (necessary only in rare instances)
How Can Kinesiology Tape Be Used In The Treatment Of Tennis Elbow?
Kinesiology tape is perfect for use by those who still need to have full range of motion while not making their injuries worse. This is why the use of kinesiology tape is perfect for applications in treating those suffering with tennis elbow.
Kinesiology tape was invented in the 1970s by a Japanese chiropractor named Dr. Kenzo Kase. Kinesiology tape was introduced to North America in the ‘90s. If you watched the 2012 Olympics, you would have noticed that many athletes competing had flashy and colourful pieces of tape stretched over their backs, shoulders, knees or abs. These athletes were using the kinesiology tape as a preventative measure against injury and to aid them with enhancing their performance.
Kinesiology tape has elastic characteristics and mimics your natural skin’s elasticity and other qualities. It is breathable, water-resistant and allows moisture to evaporate. The same piece of kinesiology tape can be used for up to three to five days and the wearer is able to exercise and perform other daily functions during use, you can even swim with it on without the risk of it falling off!
Kinesiology tape has many applications for use in rehab, alignment and pain deterrence. It has been used for many ailments, injuries, and pain or chronic pain in individuals. Tennis elbow joins a long list of uses, helping in ailing chronic pain and use as a tool for rehabilitation.
Kinesiology tape can help tennis elbow by providing your elbow with the support it needs to function while simultaneously reducing your pain and reducing swelling of your tendons. Kinesiology tape performs differently than other athletic tapes, as it does not restrict movement or form a brace around your elbow. Kinesiology tape helps to reduce your elbow pain in a few different ways:
It changes how you feel pain because it has an effect on your nervous system. When it is applied, kinesiology tape causes a slight stretch on your skin and underlying tissue and causes the area to decompress. This decompression reduces the pressure on your sensitive nerves in your elbow, thus interrupting the pain signals being sent to your brain.
Kinesiology tape will also work to reduce the load on your elbow during muscle contraction. It is taped in a strategic way that they will hinder muscle activity and minimize irritation of the tissue between your tendon and bone.
Kinesiology tape also helps patients become more aware of body movement and placement. It is a unique sensation, and use on your arm or elbow will help to remind you to move ergonomically and avoid strenuous activity.
Benefits Of Using Kinesiology Tape
- It is inexpensive and relatively easy to find and purchase
- It is medication and drug-free and does not require a prescription
- It decreases pain and boosts blood flow and circulation
- Prevents reinjury or a worsening of an injury through support and increased body awareness
- Supports your elbow joint and surrounding areas
When it is used correctly, kinesiology tape can be a great treatment option for tennis elbow. Be sure to seek the advice and help of a licensed medical professional if you are unsure kinesiology tape is right for your condition. A licensed professional will also be able to assist in showing you the proper techniques of taping, which can save you a lot of time and headache in figuring it out yourself.
Rhett Desormeaux is a content writer currently working with BreezeMaxWeb. He’s a passionate writer and loves studying ancient history, especially Bronze Age civilizations.
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