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Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)

Lateral Epicondylitis, commonly known as Tennis Elbow, is a painful condition caused by overuse of the elbow. Despite its name, the condition is not limited to tennis players. It can affect anyone who repetitively stresses the elbow joints through manual activities.

Causes and Symptoms

Tennis Elbow results from repetitive strain and microtears in the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the outside of the elbow. This strain typically occurs from activities involving gripping, twisting, or lifting. Symptoms include pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow, which may radiate into the forearm and wrist. The pain often worsens with gripping or lifting objects.

Diagnosis and Treatment

Diagnosis usually involves a physical examination and patient history. Imaging tests are not typically required but can be helpful in ruling out other causes of elbow pain.

Initial treatment focuses on relieving pain and reducing inflammation. Rest and avoiding activities that exacerbate the condition are crucial. Ice, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and physical therapy exercises that stretch and strengthen the forearm muscles are commonly recommended. Bracing or taping the elbow can provide additional support and ease the stress on the tendons.

If conservative treatments are ineffective, other options include corticosteroid injections, shock wave therapy, or surgery to remove the damaged part of the tendon.

Prevention and Management

Preventative strategies include using proper techniques and equipment for sports and work activities, ensuring adequate muscle conditioning and flexibility, and taking regular breaks from repetitive tasks.

Lateral Epicondylitis, while painful and potentially limiting, generally responds well to conservative treatment methods. Early intervention and modifications in activities are key to managing symptoms and preventing recurrence.