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Tennis Elbow Lateral Epicondylitis

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a condition in which the forearm muscles become damaged from overuse. The condition is common in athletes and in people with jobs that require vigorous use of the forearm muscles, such as painters.
Tennis Elbow is a disease of the musculoskeletal system, characterized by pain on the outer side of the elbow joint. Tennis elbow is medically termed as Lateral Epicondylitis. It is a myth that tennis elbow is a disease of tennis players only, it is common in people who overuse their wrist. Any activity which involves repetitive motion of the wrist like regularly using hammer, playing violin, painting or playing racquet sports can cause tennis elbow. Tennis elbow can be defined as inflammation of the tendon and muscles of forearm and  outer side of elbow caused by over straining or overuse of arm, forearm and wrist.

What is the cause of tennis elbow?

The hand has three bones,one upper arm bone (humerus) and  two bones in forearm (radius and ulna). There are bony protuberances at the bottom of the upper arm bone called epicondyles. The bony prominence on the outside (lateral side) of the elbow is called the lateral epicondyle. Whenever the hand is overstrained due to repeated movements at the same angle, pain and inflammation of the outer protuberance of elbow (lateral epicondyle)  occur, this is known as tennis elbow. Tennis elbow can also occur after physical injury to the lateral epicondyle, like falling from height, getting slipped etc.

What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is characterized by a gradually increasing pain or soreness on the outer side of the elbow. The pain of tennis elbow can range from mild discomfort while using your elbow, to severe pain which can restrict normal activities.This characteristic pain is accompanied by following symptoms-

Sharp pain (which may be accompanied by burning) or tenderness at outer point of elbow.

Weakness of grip leading to difficulty in holding objects like racquet, pen, turning a wrench and shaking hands.

Morning stiffness of the elbow.

Elbow pain that may extend to hand and wrist.

Who gets tennis elbow?

Although, tennis elbow is common in sportsperson who play racquet sports like tennis players, badminton players other athletes like bowlers, throwing sports – such as the javelin or discus throwers, other people are also effected. Painters, plumbers, carpenters, cooks and butchers are particularly prone to developing tennis elbow. Any activity which involves repeated use of forearm muscles can lead to tennis elbow. People between 30 to 50 years of age are most effected with this disease.

Lateral epicondylitis can also occur without any recognized repetitive injury.

How is tennis elbow diagnosed?

Diagnosis of tennis elbow is mostly based on ruling out other causes of pain like arthritis, fracture etc.Description of pain, occupational history and physical examination form the basis of diagnosis. No blood test can diagnose tennis elbow.

X-rays- X-Rays may be taken to rule out arthritis of the elbow. They provide clear images of dense structures like bone.

Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan- An arm pain related to neck pain is over ruled by MRI.

Electromyography (EMG)-An EMG is done to rule out nerve compression.

Management of tennis elbow

Rest to the effected elbow is very important part of managing tennis elbow. For the relief of pain ice application on the affected elbow is beneficial.

Homeopathy and tennis elbow-

Homeopathic medicines have very good effect on musculoskeletal diseases like tennis elbow. Homeopathy aids in the production of naturally occuring 'pain killers' in the body and help in restorative process. There are effective and fast acting Homeopathic medicines which help in reducing pain and inflammation. Homeopathy has a wide rage of medicines for the repair of tissues damaged due to tennis elbow. Some of the specific homeopathic remedies for tennis elbow are listed below

Arnica montana- Arnica is one of the well known remedies for severe elbow pain mainly due to injury or fall.

Bellis Perennis- Bellis Perrenis is indicated when the presenting symptom is pain in outer portion of forearm mainly due to overexertion. The wrist feels contracted as though there was an elastic band around the joint. It is a princely remedy for old laborers specially gardeners.

Cocculus indicus- Cocculus indicus is one of the top grade medicine for tennis elbow. It is indicated for severe pain in the hands along with awkwardness in carrying things.

Guaiacum- Guaiacum is useful for pain in the forearms, which radiates down to the wrists with immovable stiffness

Rhus Toxicodendron- Rhus Toxicodendron has pain in tendons, along with stiffness in the wrist and elbow joint. The patient complaints of pain which is aggravated from rest and relieved from continued motion.

Updated: December, 14 2017

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