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Otherwise known as lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow affects the outside epicondyle of the elbow joint, or the “pointy bit” of the elbow. 
 
We’ve covered the opposite to tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow, in another blog. Golfer’s elbow affects the inside of the elbow joint, whereas tennis below affects the outside. 
 
This injury is a result of overuse or repetitive use of the muscles of the forearm around the joint of the elbow and the tendon which attaches into the elbow. This condition is not exclusive to tennis players as the name may suggest. In fact, it’s seen very frequently in professions and sports that heavily use the forearm muscles. The painful condition can last a varied amount of time, ranging from 6 weeks to 6 months typically, to a number of years in more severe cases. 

What Causes Tennis Elbow? 

A number of factors can lead to this condition. Most commonly seen are the repetitive use of the same muscles over and over again (e.g a forearm strike in tennis), the lack of conditioning of the body to perform the task it is set (e.g trying to lift weights that are too heavy), the lack of an appropriate warm up to undertake the task at hand (which can cause a sudden strain), and the speed it is undertaken at (e.g how fast you swing a tennis racket). 
 
Obviously being named tennis elbow, this is one of the most common causes of the condition, but why is that? Basically, the action of gripping intensely a racquet for long periods of time combined with the action of powerful striking of the ball with the racquet in a tensed position are the perfect conditions for tennis elbow to manifest. This problem is usually caused by one of three things, the sheath, the attachment site, and a weak or inefficient tendon. 

Other Activities That Can Cause Tennis Elbow 

Basically, any job that involves a lot of gripping and/or large amounts of force being transferred through the elbow, builders, gardeners, drivers (especially long distance) and cleaners can commonly develop the condition. Other sports that tend to see athletes suffer are golf, swimming, baseball, pole fitness, and weightlifting. 

How To Prevent/Cure Tennis Elbow 

As this sort of injury is a common occurrence from lack of warm up, increased workload, and poor form, the first thing to do is to take measures to prevent it in the first place. A good warm up routine which includes dynamic and static stretches, starting with an acceptable workload and pace for the body to adjust in time, and decreasing the workload if pain is starting to present are all good ideas. Learning correct form and an elbow sleeve for a level of support and protection are also sensible choices. 
 
If you’re suffering with tennis elbow, please contact us to discuss a treatment and rehabilitation plan. 
 
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