Dan Armena, registered physiotherapist at Sheddon Physiotherapy and Sports Clinic
Is a nagging elbow and forearm pain interfering in your daily tasks, hobbies and physical activities? If so, you could be suffering from tennis elbow.
What is tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow is a form of tendinosis. It’s commonly caused from using the muscles and tendons in your forearm too much or too intensely. It can cause inflammation, scarring or tension on the bony bump on the outer side of the elbow.
Tennis elbow can occur when doing recreational activities or playing racquet sports. This may be a result of repetitive swinging motions. But it’s actually more common in manual jobs that involve repeated gripping, twisting or lifting. This can include:
- Desk work where you use a mouse and keyboard all day
- Gardening, landscaping and cleaning
- Carpentry, mechanical work, painting and plumbing
- Assembly line work
The condition occurs mostly in people between the ages 40 and 50, as tendons grow less flexible. And in almost 75% cases, tennis elbow affects the dominant arm.
Tennis elbow symptoms
Tennis elbow symptoms usually start gradually and get worse over weeks or months if the repetitive activity continues. Simple tasks such as holding a cup or turning a doorknob can become quite painful. If you don’t get treatment, the pain can last a long time.
The warning signs vary from person to person and range from mild to severe. Some include:
- Tenderness, swelling or burning sensation around the elbow
- Tingling sensation in the wrist and fingers
- Severe forearm pain even lifting light objects
- Weak grip strength
Some sufferers may experience neck stiffness and shoulder pain, as well as signs of nerve irritation. Those areas can become tender as your body tries to compensate for your elbow’s lack of strength and movement.
Here is a warning: having poor posture not only causes lower back problems. It can also be a contributing factor that stops your tennis elbow from completely healing.
Tennis elbow exercises to relieve pain
The good news is much of the time tennis elbow gets better with rest, exercise and therapy. Here are four recommended exercises that you can try at home. Before attempting these exercises, wait for any swelling to go down. It’s also a good idea to check with your health-care provider first.
- Wrist extensor stretch: Start with a good standing posture and stretch your arm out, e