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Elbow Issues

Friday, April 15, 2016

Have you been feeling a little pain in your elbow, more often than you’d consider normal? Krupa Joseph tells you everything that you need to know about the dreaded tennis elbow

If you’ve been overusing your arm, forearm and hand muscles, you should know that you’re at a higher risk of experiencing acute elbow pain — that is, if it hasn’t struck you already. While the condition gets its name — tennis elbow — because it is a common issue among tennis players, even those who don’t play the game can suffer from it. We spoke to Dr. Santosh Pandey, a yoga trainer and naturopath, to gain some insight into the peculiar condition. With over 15 years of experience in alternative medicine, he explains everything you should know about tennis elbow.

Dr. Pandey tells us that overusing your elbow muscles can lead to the twisting of the forearm and tendons in the elbow region as a result of repetitive wrist and arm movements. It begins with something as simple as a little ache, moves on to acute pain on the outside of your elbow and then slowly progresses all the way up to your wrist.

If you feel any pain around your elbow when you’re lifting small objects, or twisting your forearm to open a jar or turn a door knob, it could be the result of tennis elbow. If small actions such as extending your arm become painful, check with your doctor about a possible cause of the pain.

What causes tennis elbow?
The muscles that surround your elbow are responsible for its movement. They also play a role in moving your wrist and fingers. Your elbow joint is the fulcrum and acts on your forearm and upper arm muscles. So, if you strain your forearm muscles, an inflammation of the soft tissues can develop near the bony lump on the outside of your elbow, which is what leads to tennis elbow.

As we’ve mentioned already, tennis is not the only activity that can trigger this stress. Dr. Pandey tells us about a few things that could lead to it as well.

  • Racquet sports such as badminton and squash, or sports that involve throwing such as javelin and discus, can cause the condition to spring up.
  • Other activities such as playing the violin, which usually involve moving of your forearm and your wrist, can also lead to tennis elbow.
  • Simple household activities can also lead to the condition, especially if they involve rigorous arm movements. Painting using rollers is one of the culprits. Others include activities or hobbies that involve repetitive arm movements.
  • You could also suffer from the condition if you do a lot of gardening! Studies suggest that trimming hedges and plants can have the same effect on your elbow.
  • Even plumbing and brick laying activities can cause tennis elbow.

What you need to know
Just because certain activities are risk factors, doesn’t mean that you should avoid them. After all, according to the statistics, only five out of 100 people actually get tennis elbow from playing racquet sports.

Remember that if you do suffer from this condition, the pain can last between six months and two years. If you recognise the symptoms, head to your doctor because self medication is never a good idea.

Ample rest, pain relievers and physical therapy can help relieve the ache. Dr. Pandey also suggests trying acupuncture as an option, because it helps with managing the pain. In extreme cases, someone who is suffering from tennis elbow may require surgery, but Dr. Pandey tells us not to worry, because that it is quite a rare occurrence.

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