Causes of Tennis Elbow & How to Prevent
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The causes of tennis elbow are related to diverse everyday activities, not only tennis. According to statistics, at least 3% of Americans struggle with this condition yearly. Despite being called "tennis elbow," only about 5% of tennis causes are directly related to the sport.
Any person can suffer from tennis elbows. The condition is mainly caused by repetitive motion during certain activities, which tend to cause pain whenever you bend or straighten your arms. It can become more apparent whenever you try to grasp or lift heavy objects.
However, the good news is that, regardless of the cause of tennis elbow, it can be fixed without going through surgery. This article will guide you through some of the common causes of tennis elbow and how you can treat it at home.
What is Tennis Elbow?
Lateral Epicondylitis, popularly known as “tennis elbow,” is a painful condition caused by repetitive arm motion. This motion causes the arm muscles to become weak, and eventually, the tendons will start to tear. It is categorized as an “overuse injury,” which means it is more likely to appear when the tendons become overloaded.
Some of the common symptoms of tennis elbow may include:
- Tearing in some cases
This condition is known as “tennis elbow” because it is quite common among tennis players that have a tight grip. However, many people receive treatment for tennis elbow from computer use and many other causes.
Who is More Likely to Struggle with Tennis Elbow?
According to statistics, people between the ages of 30-50 are more likely to get this condition, regardless of gender.
On the other hand, some people are more vulnerable to tennis elbow than others, especially those that tend to perform repetitive activities that require them to use their arms, forearms, wrists, and even hands. Hence, baseball or softball players, bowlers, and even golfers are also at the risk of getting tennis elbow.
However, as we've mentioned, athletes are not the only people that are likely to develop the condition. Many profiles within the work industry are also part of the risk group, including dentists, musicians, manicurists, and even office workers. Many people receive treatment for tennis elbow from typing every year.
Causes of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is an overuse injury that will typically affect your dominant arm. However, that doesn’t mean that your other arm is immune to it. It is possible to get tennis elbow in both of your arms.
With that being said, there are diverse causes of tennis elbow. As we've mentioned, activities that require repetitive motion are likely to be the cause of your condition. This happens because your forearm muscles become fatigued, which puts your tendons under more pressure. When the person continues the repetitive motion, it leads to overload and eventually to inflammation and pain (tendinitis).
Now, if the overloading continues, it can lead to more serious consequences, such as tendinosis. If tendinitis and tendinosis coexist together, it may lead to the tendon tearing.
Some of the most common activities that involve “repetitive motion” and popular causes of tennis elbow are listed below.
It’s very common for people to associate typing with carpal tunnel syndrome most of the time. However, although both conditions are deeply related, it is also possible to get elbow pain from typing. If you tend to work on your computer for prolonged periods, you may also develop tennis elbow at some point.
Typing can lead to tennis elbow because the repetitive wrist and finger movements will eventually activate the forearm muscles. Hence, when you continue engaging in the same behavior, you may end up getting tennis elbow. That’s why it is often recommended to follow the guidelines for the best posture for typing.
If you're a hobbyist or perhaps, do it for a living, you should know that you might develop tennis elbow at some point throughout your life. It doesn't matter what tool you prefer using – both a paintbrush and a roller will cause you to perform repetitive strain.
Plus, painting also involves twisting and bending. It is quite easy for people that frequently paint to develop tennis elbow.
3. Automotive work
Car mechanics may also get tennis elbow. After all, many of the activities you need to perform on a daily basis include twisting, bending, and other repetitive motion. All of these actions will eventually lead to pain. Hence, those that work in the automotive industry for a living are more likely to get tennis elbow than hobbyists.
How to Prevent Tennis Elbow
Luckily for you, there are different ways to treat tennis elbow. It doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with computer elbow pain while sitting on your office chair or perhaps because you often work repairing cars. This section will guide you through the different measurements you must take into account to feel relief from tennis elbow.
1. Keep your wrists in a neutral position
You can prevent tennis elbow by maintaining your wrists in a neutral, natural position. You may have to replace your old seat with an appropriate desk chair, for starters. If your job requires you to type for prolonged periods it is important for you to adjust the height of your seat to make sure that your computer chair allows you to remain in a neutral position and your weight is distributed evenly throughout your body.
Besides replacing your reclining chair, we also recommend you invest in an ergonomic keyboard and an ergonomic mousse that help you keep your wrists supported while you're performing these repetitive actions. Additionally, we invite you to practice the best posture for typing so you can be more comfortable while typing.
2. Stretch your wrists and arms
Whether you're a carpenter, a painter, a car mechanic, or an office worker, we highly recommend you do stretches before engaging in a repetitive motion to warm up your arm muscles. Moreover, we also advise you to take several breaks throughout the day to reduce the risk of developing tennis elbow.
3. Other recommendations
- Try to make smooth movements instead of “rough ones” that may worsen the condition.
- Keep your wrists at a neutral position whenever it’s possible.
- Use power tools instead of hand tools when possible.
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