Tennis elbow which is commonly known to doctors and health care professions as lateral epicondylitis.
The term has entered wide use, though only a small group of people diagnosed with tennis elbow actually get it from playing tennis. Tennis elbow is a common injury that will usually heal with minor treatment, but you have to give it time and rest.
Where Is the Pain?
Tennis elbow is a pain focused on the outside of the arm, where your forearm meets your elbow.
It’s related to a muscle and tendons in your forearm. Tendons connect your muscles to your bones. When you constantly use your arm in a repetitive motion, the tendons at the elbow end of a certain muscle — the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle.
- Extensor carpi radialis longus: This muscle originates on the lateral supraepicondylar ridge of the humerus and inserts on the back of the base of the second metacarpal. It extends and abducts the hand at the wrist.
- Extensor carpi radialis brevis: Originating on the lateral epicondyle of the humerus, this muscle inserts at the back of the base of the third metacarpal. It extends and abducts the hand at the wrist and supports a clenched fist.
- Extensor digitorum: This muscle originates at the lateral epicondyle of the humerus and inserts at the extensor expansions of the fingers, but not the thumb. It extends the fingers at the metacarpophalangeal joints.
- Extensor carpi ulnaris: Originating at the lateral epicondyle of the humerus and the back of the ulna, this muscle inserts on the back of the base of the fifth metacarpal. It extends and adducts the hand at the wrist.
- Extensor digiti minimi: This finger muscle originates at the lateral epicondyle of the humerus and inserts on the extensor expansion of the fifth digit. It extends the pinkie finger at the metacarpophalangeal joint.
Tennis elbow affects up to 3% of the population, particularly adults between 30 and 50 years of age. But less than 5% of cases are linked to tennis.
What Causes Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a classic repetitive stress injury caused by overuse. Any activity that strains the muscles around the elbow over and over again can cause it.
In tennis, hitting a backhand puts some stress on your forearm muscles, which repeatedly contract when you hit the ball. If you have poor technique or grip the racquet too tightly, that stress may increase in the tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the elbow. The tendons may get small tears.
You can get it from other racquet sports, such as squash or racquetball. You can also get it from jobs or activities that involve repetitive arm motion, such as:
- Tree-cutting (repetitive use of a chain saw)
- Playing some types of musical instruments
- Butchers, cooks, and assembly-line workers are among the groups that get it.
Signs & Symptoms
The most common symptom of tennis elbow is an ache on the outside of the elbow. Over time — from a few weeks to a few months — the ache turns into a chronic pain. The outside of your elbow may become too painful to touch.
Eventually, you may find it harder or more painful to grip or lift things. Sometimes tennis elbow affects both arms.
over the course of time the CETO (common extensor tendon origin) will become inflamed and stiff which will require a MRI scan. After this, the course of treatment would be to take anti-inflammatories to reduce the inflammation, seek professional help such as a physiotherapist, massage therapist or sports therapist to relieve tension within the forearm.
If you enjoyed reading this blog and want to explore more the anatomy of the musculature involved then here is the link below.