Gary Brazina (Sports Medicine Physician) gives expert video advice on: How should tennis elbow be treated? and more...
What is 'tennis elbow'?
Tennis elbow is an overuse syndrome of the muscles of the lateral or outside of the elbow. All the muscles in the forearm that extend the wrist, insert on the outside, or the lateral side of the forearm. The most common cause of tennis elbow is overuse, it's rarely from tennis. Most of the time it is overuse from gardening, or using a tool, or a hammer, a rake and hoe. These injuries can be prevented by using ice, rest, compression and elevation, sometimes using a wrist splint, and by taking a look at the way you're hitting the ball (if it comes from tennis), or some activity that you're repetitively doing.
How should tennis elbow be treated?
Tennis elbow is a very common problem, and is due to over-use. The best treatment for it, of course, is rest, ice, compression, and elevation. Use of non-steroidal anti-inflamatories, or aspirin, sometimes using a tennis elbow strap, sometimes using a wrist splint, because all the muscles that extend the wrist, bring the wrist up, insert on the outside of the elbow. That is what causes tennis elbow. Avoiding palm down lifting is a good way to prevent tennis elbow.
If I have tennis elbow, when should I wear a elbow strap?
I recommend using the tennis elbow strap during the activity which causes the problem. If it's because of tennis or racquetball, then you may want to look at other factors than just the tennis elbow strap, specifically the size of grip of the racquet, using string dampeners, and looking at your technique on how you're hitting the tennis ball.
What are loose or detached bodies in the elbow?
Loose bodies in the elbow are generally pieces of bone in cartilage or combination of bone and cartilage that are floating around the elbow. Most of the time the arise from trauma.
How are loose or detached bodies in the elbow treated?
Loose bodies in the elbow are generally due to overuse. We see it commonly in pitchers, especially young kids that have been throwing curve balls - they can knock off a piece of bone and cartilage, and it floats around the elbow. We call these joint mice, because they scooch around. If it is limiting range of motion of the elbow, then they need to be removed. Most of the time these can be taken care of orthoscopically and removed orthoscopically.