Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Tennis Elbow-diseases

What do doctors call this condition?

Epicondylitis, epitrochlear bursitis

What is this condition?

Tennis elbow is a painful inflammation of the forearm extensor tendon fibers at the point where they attach to the upper arm (humerus) adjacent to the elbow joint.

What causes it?

Tennis elbow probably begins as a partial tear on the involved tendon and is common among tennis players and other persons whose activities require a forceful grasp, wrist extension against resistance, or frequent rotation of the forearm. Left untreated, the condition can become disabling.

What are its symptoms?

The first symptom is elbow pain that gradually worsens and often radiates to the forearm and back of the hand whenever the person grasps an object or twists his or her elbow. Other symptoms are tenderness over the joint and a weak grasp. In rare instances, tennis elbow may cause local heat, swelling, or restricted range of motion.

How is it diagnosed?

Because X-rays are almost always negative, the doctor depends on the person's reports of pain while playing tennis or a similar activity. The pain can be reproduced by having the person move his or her wrist in a manner similar to that used when swinging a racket.

How is it treated?

Treatment aims to relieve pain, usually by local injection of corticosteroid and a local anesthetic and by taking aspirin or Indocin. Supportive treatment includes an immobilizing splint from the forearm to the elbow, which generally relieves pain in 2 to 3 weeks. Some doctors use heat therapy, such as warm compresses and ultrasound, and physical therapy, such as manipulation and massage.

A "tennis elbow strap" has helped many people. This strap, which is wrapped snugly around the forearm, helps relieve the strain on affected forearm muscles and tendons. If these measures prove ineffective, surgical release of the tendon at the hand may be necessary.

Author: Robert Baird

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