First Aid Focus – Tennis Elbow
By Ross Smith (paramedic) Australian First Aid
So what is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a common term for a condition caused by overuse of arm, forearm, and hand muscles that results in elbow pain. You don’t have to play tennis to get this, but the term came into use because it can be a significant problem for some tennis players.
Tennis elbow is caused by either abrupt or subtle injury of the muscle and tendon area around the outside of the elbow. Tennis elbow specifically involves the area where the muscles and tendons of the forearm attach to the outside bony area (called the lateral epicondyle) of the elbow. Doctors may call this condition lateral epicondylitis.
Prevention is better than cure; if you are experiencing pain in your dominate arm after a game see a doctor sooner rather than later. Early diagnosis will help with an early intervention treatment plan.
Signs & Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
- Pain slowly increasing around the outside of the elbow, rarely, but pain may develop suddenly.
- Pain is worse when shaking hands or squeezing objects.
- Pain is made worse by stabilising or moving the wrist with force.
Examples include lifting, using tools, opening jars, or even handling simple utensils such as a knife and fork.
Simple first aid measures to help with Tennis Elbow
Inflammation usually causes the pain, to reduce the effects of inflammation
- Simply Rest – by resting for a couple of weeks and avoid tennis activity
can help reduce pain and inflammation
- Apply an ice pack to the affected area – after a game use a covered ice
pack for 20 minutes – repeated every 4 hours for 24 hours (where
practical) will reduce the inflammation
- Use anti-inflammatory gels or creams (ask you pharmacy for most
suitable product for tennis elbow) immediately after the game
- Use an elbow elastic support – this takes the workload off the elbow
and helps reduce inflammation
For more help with the treatment of tennis elbow consult with your local physiotherapist.
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