Elbow Pain Got You Down?

Many people have chronic elbow pain, sometimes referred to as tennis elbow or golfer’s elbow. Both are caused by an inflammatory process at the elbows where the tendons insert on the bone. The inflammation leads to pain and can cause difficulty in performing activities of daily life. Tennis elbow occurs on the outside of the elbow where the wrist and hand flexor and extensor muscle insert onto the lateral epicondyle. The same inflammatory process can occur in golfer’s elbow only it will affect the tendons that insert onto the medial epicondyle causing pain on the inside of your elbow. Therefore, tennis elbow is often referred to as “lateral epicondylitis” whereas golfer’s elbow is referred to as “medial epicondylitis.” They get their names due to the repetitive stresses on the elbow during swinging a golf club or tennis racket. Baseball pitchers may also be susceptible to medial epicondylitis from the repetitive stresses on the elbow during throwing. The repetitive stresses can lead to small tears in the muscles leading to inflammation, pain, or limitation in movement. These small tears can even lead to scar tissue formation. The scar tissue places added pressure on the muscles and can put pressure on the nerves that supply the muscles of the wrist and forearm. Common symptoms include elbow pain, tingling, numbness, weakness, or lack of range of motion.

If you haven’t yet experienced elbow pain but are trying to prevent these issues there are some important points to remember. Warming up is essential before participating in tennis, golf, baseball or any sport where you perform repetitive movements. It is also important to stretch muscles of the forearm, wrist, and hand before and after participation. Also, a strengthening program that includes forearm and wrist muscles is key in preventing injury. You don’t have to be a golfer or tennis player to have elbow pain. These two problems can occur after one quick over stretch or from any type of repetitive movements of the arm.

If you have already been diagnosed with tennis or golfer’s elbow, there are ways to decrease pain. First, taking an anti-inflammatory pain reliever such as ibuprofen can help decrease inflammation which can decrease pain. However, you don’t want to become dependent on taking medications. Tennis elbow is commonly treated with eccentric extension exercises. Golfer’s elbow is commonly treated with eccentric flexion exercises. Strengthen your forearms muscles by holding a small weight with your palm facing the floor. You can start with your elbow supported on a desk or bench with your wrist just off the edge of the surface. With your palm facing the floor, bring the weight up toward your body. You can then flip your arm into supination so that your palm is facing up. Bend your wrist, bringing your wrist toward your body again. You can stretch your forearm muscles by extending your elbow in front of you and using your unaffected hand to pull back on your hand. Perform with your hand facing toward you and hand facing away from you. These are just a couple of stretches and exercises that can decrease elbow pain. Also, golfer’s elbow and tennis elbow can be caused by overuse. Therefore, it is important to listen to your body! Take frequent rest breaks and make sure you have days off to rest. You may also benefit from an elbow brace which can be set up for you by a doctor or a physical therapist.

Exercise is an important component of preventing pain and treating injury. If you are looking to start up an exercise program to improve your golf or tennis game or just to improve quality of life, call Fitness Together at 330-702-1311.

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Posted by on March 12, 2013. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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