How to Prevent Tennis Elbow

Give it a rest when it hurts

SUNDAY, May 18, 2003 (HealthDayNews) -- A repetitive motion with just about any part of your body will typically backfire on you with stress-related pain, and the elbow is no exception. That's why you don't necessarily have to be a tennis player to get the condition known as tennis elbow -- but it probably helps.

The pain of tennis elbow centers on or around the bony prominence that's felt on the outside of the elbow, according to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS). The pain may radiate down your arm, and the type of gripping or extending of the wrist associated with tennis can further increase the pain.

The pain, which is usually the result of muscle overuse, is specifically related to tiny tears in the tendons in your forearms. Continued overuse of those muscles can prevent the tears from healing and cause further pain as the tendons become inflamed.

In addition to tennis, other activities that can cause tennis elbow include everything from raking leaves and repetitive hammering to rowing or even painting.

The best advice, say experts, is to simply stop doing whatever activity you believe is causing the pain and give your tendons some time to heal.

Anti-inflammatory medications may help to reduce the pain and try applying ice to reduce swelling, advises the AAOS. In time, the pain should subside and you should be able to return to your normal activities. If, however, the pain persists after two to three weeks, you may want to consult a doctor.

More information

Learn about tennis elbow from the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma.

Nancy A. Melville

Nancy A. Melville

Published on May 18, 2003

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