If you have a tennis elbow, it will hurt the muscle brackets on the outside of the elbow. This may be because you have worked a lot with your hands and strained the muscles that stretch your fingers and wrist. You can get a tennis elbow, including hard bodywork, carpentry or playing tennis.
Symptoms of tennis elbow
If you have a tennis elbow, it is common to have one or more of these symptoms of tennis elbow:
- You get sore or sore on the outside at the elbow and on the top of the forearm
- You get pain at rest, for example at night if you lie so that there is pressure on the outside of the elbow.
- You find it difficult to grasp things hard or to clench your fists.
- You get sore when you twist the forearm, for example when you need to screw with a screwdriver or turn a sluggish key.
- You find it difficult to lift things that are difficult to grasp, such as a milk package.
- You may find it difficult to stretch the elbow completely.
- If you bend the wrist back and up with resistance, it usually hurts the muscle brackets at the elbow, and the pain usually radiates down to the wrist.
The overstretching means that there may be small bursts in the connective tissue that attach the muscles to the upper leg. The tissues then become irritated and it can hurt. The pain can come for a longer time or more urgently if you have overworked too much unilateral work. The more intense the pain, the greater the area of the arm aches.
What can I do for myself?
Tennis elbow usually passes by itself, but there are some ways to relieve the pain.
Abstain from the loads that hurt
You can start by trying to rest your arm from the activities that hurt. If you have overloaded the arm you have been suffering from, try to avoid overloading.
Use a special bandage for tennis elbow
You can also try a special bandage that distributes pressure against the sore area of the elbow. The bandage can be purchased at a pharmacy, in a sporting goods store or a medical store. Special support joints for the wrist can also reduce the pain.
Try non-prescription drugs
You can try painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs if you have acute problems.
There are several different prescription drugs. Examples are drugs containing paracetamol and drugs belonging to the NSAID group, or cox inhibitors.
Here you can read about which prescription drugs are available and which may be right for you.
When should I seek care?
Contact a physiotherapist or health care center if the symptoms of tennis elbow do not resolve or improve within a few weeks. Instead of a physical therapist, you can contact an occupational therapist.
You can seek care at any healthcare center you want throughout the country. You also have the opportunity to have a regular doctor’s contact at the health center.
When you visit a physiotherapist, occupational therapist or doctor you will be told about your complaints, how long you have had them and how they feel. You will also be examined and given various tests to test how the muscles work during movements with and without strain. The doctor also usually tests the function of the nerves, as a pinched nerve can sometimes cause similar problems as a tennis elbow.
Often these examinations are sufficient for the doctor to be able to diagnose tennis elbow. You may undergo further examinations if the doctor suspects that the pain is due to something else.
You have the right to understand
In order for you to be able to participate in your care and make decisions, it is important that you understand the information you receive from the healthcare staff. Ask questions if you don’t understand. You can also ask for information printed so that you can read it peacefully. help from an interpreter.
Treatment of tennis elbow
There are various treatments of Tennis elbow that can help if you have a tennis elbow. It is good to keep your arm moving with movements but without strain. Some tasks that you usually perform with one hand, you may be able to do just as well with the other with a little training. If you have been hurt after working out, you can take a break from that type of sport. You can also change the technology of sports to avoid overload.
Think about how to use your hands
Movements were other than those that caused tennis elbow can also cause the trouble to continue. You must, therefore, think about how to use your hands and try to avoid repeated upward bending of the wrist. It does not have to be heavy work at all to strain the muscles, but it can be simple repetitive activities. It can be more stressful with many small efforts of a muscle bracket than a great effort. A tight elastic band around the wrist can feel nice and help you remember not to perform the inappropriate movement.
Physical therapy can be effective
Physical therapy with an exercise where the load increases incrementally is a treatment that can be effective. You can work out at home, but it is good to get personalized instructions about the training of a physical therapist, occupational therapist or doctor. Stretching is often included and sometimes you can get treatment of Tennis elbow with TENS, which means transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation. Massages can also be included in the treatment.
When the acute pain has passed, you need to exercise to prevent you from getting back into trouble. Here’s an exercise you can do at home:
- Fill a five-liter plastic can with one to two liters of water. Hold the can with the arm you are hurting in. The forearm should support the armrest of a chair. The wrist should be free and the shoulder and upper arm relaxed.
- Slowly lower the can for about five seconds using only the wrist from the highest possible position to the longest possible. Lift the can for about a second to the start position again. Feel free to help on the way up with the arm you are not hurting.
- Rest for 30 to 60 seconds after lowering the can 15 times. Repeat two more times.
Do the exercise once a day at about the same time for three months. Increase weight once a week by filling with one deciliter of water. Light exercise pain is natural and a sign that exercise has an effect. Exercise pain should decrease to the next day. If it does not decrease, you can reduce the weight by two to five deciliters.
Cortisone, acupuncture and cooling down
A cortisone syringe that you get from a doctor can help in the short term but is not recommended in the long term. Cortisone increases the risk of the problems returning and then being prolonged.
Acupuncture and cooling down with an ice bag can temporarily relieve the pain.
Extracorporeal shockwave therapy
The purpose is to stimulate the healing process by transmitting pressure through sound waves to the tissue in the area where it hurts. Usually, a physical therapist provides treatment with a hand nozzle placed over the area to be treated. You can get shock wave treatment of tennis elbow with different strengths.
Low energy laser treatment of tennis elbow
The purpose is to affect the tissue in a way that provides pain relief. Usually, a physiotherapist provides the treatment, which means that the laser light is transferred from a pen-like instrument to the area to be treated. Low energy lasers do not cause any heating.
Sometimes surgery is needed
You may need surgery if you have had severe problems for a long time and other treatments do not help. It is an orthopedic or hand surgeon who assesses if you need surgery.
Before the operation, you usually get local anesthesia and the doctor then makes an incision on the outside of the elbow. During surgery, the doctor loosens the muscle bracket from which the pain comes. The doctor also usually scrapes clean around the muscle bracket. The operation itself takes about half an hour.
Instead of local anesthesia, you can sometimes get so-called intravenous regional anesthesia. This means that you get anesthetic directly into the blood through a vein catheter. It is a small, thin plastic tube that is inserted into a blood vessel, usually in the fold of the armor on the top of the hand, with the help of a needle which is then removed.
After the surgery
When the anesthetic releases you can get hurt. To alleviate the pain, it is usually sufficient to take non-prescription painkillers with acetaminophen, such as Alvedon, for the first 24 hours after surgery.
After the operation, you usually get a bandage in the form of a soft wrap around the elbow. The dressing should remain for 10 to 14 days when the stitches are also removed. You will then get a simpler dressing and should continue to avoid congestion during the first few months after surgery. You may need to be on sick leave for some time depending on the type of work you have.
Important to exercise the muscles
After the surgery, it is important to train the muscles of the arm. The risk is greater than the trouble will come back if the muscles used to bend and stretch the forearm are weak. Therefore, you should start training as soon as you are not in pain. You can strengthen your muscles by, for example, squeezing an average softball hard with your hand 10 to 15 times in succession several times a day. The ball should be about the same size as a tennis ball. Another training method is to put a thick rubber band around your fingertips and try to spread with your fingers. Boxing against boxing is also good. It is important that you exercise three to four times each day. Each workout should be 15 to 20 minutes. You get the full effect in the muscles after six to eight weeks.
It is also important to stretch the muscles in the forearm so that you do not become stiff. Read about stretching online or ask a physical therapist or occupational therapist to show you how to do it.
Counteract new problems
Once you have recovered from the trouble with the tennis elbow, it is important to make sure they do not come back. If you continue to use your hands and arms just as before, there is a risk that you will experience the same trouble again after some time. It is therefore good to think about what may have caused the tennis elbow and try to avoid such overload in the future.
Using a support bandage when performing heavy physical work can also help prevent overstretching of the muscle brackets.
What is it?
Tennis elbow is usually because you have overstretched or damaged the muscle brackets at the elbow. The muscles attached to the leg on the outside of the elbow extend the fingers and wrist. The trouble usually comes creeping and is caused by repeated, one-sided movements of the wrist. This is especially true if you are doing an activity that you are not used to. Most people who get tennis elbow don’t get to play tennis.
Unilateral work may be the cause
You may get hurt if you work one-handed with your hands. Then the pain is because you overload the muscles that extend your fingers and wrist. Often these are movements when you take a steady hold of something and at the same time bend and stretch your wrist.
The trouble can be caused by working with tools in a way that you are above. Tennis and other sports can also be the cause. Sometimes the doctor does not find a clear explanation for the problems.