Elbow tendonitis, clinically known as Lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition caused by the irritation of the tendons (bands of tough tissues that connect the muscles of the lower arm to the bone) in the elbow due to overload. It is usually experienced after repeated action or overuse of the muscle around the elbow. Elbow tendonitis is common among athletes and people whose job requires repetitive forearm motion, such as plumbers, carpenters, and painters.
There are two forms of elbow tendonitis, distinguished by the tendon and the part of the elbow affected. The tennis elbow affects the tendon that attaches to the outer part of the elbow and is mostly experienced by tennis players. The golfer’s elbow involves the tendon in the inner side of the elbow.
Causes Of Elbow Tendonitis
Elbow tendonitis is caused by the repetitive contractions of the forearm muscles used to straighten and raise the hand and wrist. Tear on the tendons is caused by the repetitive stress and motion of the muscles.
There are certain factors that increase the risk of experiencing elbow tendonitis
- Age: elbow tendonitis can be experienced by anyone if exposed to stress but it is mainly common among adults between the ages of 30 and 50.
- Occupation: having a job that requires repetitive motion of the wrist and arm increases the chances of experiencing elbow tendonitis. Examples are painters, carpenters, butchers, plumbers, and cooks.
- Sports: certain sporting or recreational activities require the repetitive and vigorous use of the forearm muscles. This causes overuse of the tendons, leading to elbow tendonitis. Examples of these activities are weight lifting, tennis, golf, racquetball, squash, and fencing.
Elbow tendonitis can occur with any repetitive injury. This occurrence is known as Idiopathic.
Symptoms Of Elbow Tendonitis
Elbow tendonitis symptoms develop gradually, the pain begins mildly at the outer or inner side of the elbow and slowly worsens radiating into the upper or lower arm. Similar symptoms are experienced in both the tennis elbow and the golfer’s elbow.
- Pain (sometimes burning) and tenderness on the outer (tennis elbow) or inner (golfer’s elbow) part of the elbow.
- Reduced motion range and stiffness of the elbow.
- Difficulty in gripping or lifting an object.
- Weakness in the arm or hand.
- Pain when rotating the wrist.
- Pain or dull arching travels to the forearm.
Treatment For Elbow Tendonitis
Elbow tendonitis usually heal on its own with time. However, there are treatments that help speed up recovery and improve symptoms.
- Rest: Take a break from any activity causing stress on your forearm. This is the first step towards recovery.
- Ice: Holding a cold compress to the elbow helps decrease pain and limit damage to surrounding tissues.
- Medication: Pain killers, such as paracetamol, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen) can help reduce the pain and inflammation.
- Physiotherapy: Massaging, stretching, and bracing the affected area helps reduce pain and stiffness.
Elbow tendonitis restricts one’s work and daily activities. If diagnosed, it should be taken care of as soon as possible. If you need more insights or medical aid you can contact us. We have a number of qualified and experienced orthopedic surgeon ready to be of help.