Regular players of racket sports fear tennis elbow. Although this complaint can have many other causes (see below), it nonetheless affects rackets sports players disproportionately.
The medical name of tennis elbow is "lateral epicondylitis", and it is an injury to the tendon that joins the extensor muscles of the forearm to the upper arm bone (humerus).
While it is possible to get tennis elbow from a single incident, such as lifting something very heavy, repeated use of the arm is the mechanism of injury in the vast majority of cases.
While you can of course get tennis elbow by regularly playing the game, other common causes include:
- Excessive use of a computer mouse or keyboard
- Using vibrating equipment, such as strimmers
- Repeated use of scissors or shears
- Regular gardening
- Manual work that involves repetitive twisting and lifting of the wrist (plumbing, bricklaying, using of a screwdriver)
- Playing musical instruments (e.g. the violin )
For regular players, it is worth knowing about these, as a combination of these activities alongside your regular sports activities could cause the condition to flare up.
The principal symptom is pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow, or to the muscles of the forearm. Treatment begins with stopping the activity that precipitated the injury, and managing the pain with pain killers and ice. You should also seek professional help to get a course of physiotherapy - this is the only way to prevent the condition from returning.