Priya Rao is a software techie from a reputed company in Bangalore, whose favourite hobby happens to be painting. “I used to paint for hours together and never feel tired, but today if I paint for more than an hour, my right elbow starts paining.”
Priya suffers from a condition called Tennis Elbow. As the name suggests, tennis elbow is a painful condition of the elbow caused by overuse of it. Not surprisingly, playing tennis or other racquet sports can cause this condition. But several other sports and activities can also put you at risk. People who participate in leisure or work activities that require repetitive arm, elbow and wrist movement are usually affected. It affects people in their dominant arm. So, in Priya’s case, because of her continuous use of her right hand to hold the brush, she developed the condition in the right hand.
“Initially, the pain started slowly around the elbows. Often it would develop suddenly. I had to go the doctor, when the pain became worse while shaking hands or while stroking the brush.” says Priya. Tennis elbow cannot be diagnosed from blood tests and rarely by X-rays. Rather it is usually diagnosed by the description of pain you provide to your doctor and certain findings from a physical examination. Your doctor may ask you to flex your arm, wrist and elbow to see where it hurts. And based on the findings, treatment is advised, which is rarely a surgery.
A person suffering from tennis elbow need not worry much about. The condition will heal on it’s own. The person just needs to give the elbow a rest. The type of treatment recommended for tennis elbow will depend on several factors including age, medical history and severity of pain. The following types of treatment help to reduce the pain:
- Icing the elbow to reduce pain and swelling.
- Using an elbow strap to protect the injured part from further strain.
- Taking painkillers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help with pain and swelling.
- Performing a range of motion exercises to reduce stiffness and increase flexibility.
- Performing physiotherapy to strengthen, stretch the muscles and mobilize the elbow joint. Here, at Anand laboratories, we have experienced physiotherapists who administer specialized techniques and teach the required exercises which will help you recover at the earliest.
- Having injections of steroids or painkillers to temporarily ease some of the swelling and pain around the joint.
- Acupuncture may help to relieve the pain.
Most of the time, these treatments will do the trick. But if you have a severe case of tennis elbow that doesn’t respond to treatment within two to four months, you may need surgery. Surgery is estimated to work in 80%-90% of cases of Tennis Elbow.