Tennis Elbow: What Is It and How Do You Relieve It?

If you’ve ever experienced a dull or shooting pain near your elbow that seems to radiate down your forearm and into your wrist and hand, you might have had what’s known as tennis elbow. This condition is primarily caused by strain and overuse, so it can be prevented and fixed without surgical intervention in many cases. Read on to learn more about what tennis elbow is and how you can stop the pain.

What Is Tennis Elbow?

Despite what its name suggests, tennis elbow doesn’t just happen to tennis players or athletes. Anyone who moves their arms repetitively using certain motion can develop this condition, including painters, carpenters, and plumbers.

The medical term for tennis elbow is lateral epicondylitis, referring to the inflammation of the tendons and muscles that connect to this bone on the outside of your elbow. Since the same nerves that run through your elbow and down your forearm are also connected to your wrist and hand, you might experience pain, numbness, or a tingling sensation in your hands and fingers as well.

What Are the Common Symptoms of Tennis Elbow?

Some of the most common signs of tennis elbow include:

  • Pain or burning in the outside part of your elbow
  • Difficulty grasping objects, such as a coffee cup
  • Difficulty making a tight fist
  • Numbness or tingling in your forearm, wrists, or hands, especially when your elbow is bent
  • Trouble sleeping due to the feeling that your arm or hand is asleep

How Is Tennis Elbow Treated?

The good news is that most cases of tennis elbow can be treated without surgery. In about 95% of cases, rest and over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medications are enough to relieve symptoms and help you get back to your regular routine. However, since overuse is what cases this condition, you may experience chronic symptoms if your job or other daily activities require you to make repetitive motions with your arm and elbow.

Some tips for preventing tennis elbow in the future include:

  • Wearing a brace when performing certain activities
  • Avoid resting your elbow on your armrest when typing on the computer
  • Perform appropriate wrist stretches