Tennis elbow, which is medically referred to as lateral epicondylitis, is caused due to repetitive movements of the arm, elbow, wrist, and hands. It is a myth that only tennis players are affected by this condition, it can affect anyone. Frequent wrist movement (either backwards or in a twisting motion) can cause the tendon to get inflamed. Plumbers, carpenters, painters, cooks, etc., are at a risk of developing this condition. Basically, this condition could affect anyone whose job involves making repetitive wrist, arm, or hand movements. Such movements put strain on the tendon that is attached to the bone on the outside the elbow, thereby causing it to get inflamed. This gives rise to pain in and around the elbow.
Sometimes, the affected individual might observe a visible swelling around the elbow. More often than not, this condition affects one's dominant arm. One may experience slight pain when performing daily activities such as turning a door knob, cutting vegetables, or typing.
As this condition is characterized by inflammation, the use of anti-inflammatory drugs and painkillers can help provide relief from pain. Also, the use of a tennis elbow brace would prove beneficial.
Care and Brace Placement
If your elbow hurts even when you are resting, and you experience pain while gripping or carrying objects, it's advisable to seek medical help. While rest and ice therapy will provide relief from pain and help reduce swelling, applying an elbow strap or brace will certainly help.
Elbow braces or elbow straps (counterforce straps) are readily available online and in supermarkets. The straps compress the upper forearm and absorb the forces transmitted through the soft tissues to the outer side of the elbow. Basically, the brace takes the stress off from the tendon at the place where it attaches to the bone. The brace or strap should be positioned around the forearm just below the elbow, with the pressure pads being placed on the muscle, just below the painful region of the elbow.
These elbow straps could be a part of a larger neoprene elbow sleeve that covers the area from the mid-forearm to the middle of the upper arm. Some of these have a neoprene cuff with a cinch strap to keep it in place, with the cinch strap to be placed over the muscles of the forearm. The cinch strap should be a snug fit; it should not be very tight. Some of the braces consist of an air pillow or a cushion that is filled with gel. The air pillow or the cushion has to be placed over the muscles on the back of the forearm. An epicondylitis clasp is a plastic clasp that is positioned around the affected arm, and secured with a strap. It has to be placed over the muscle, about 2-3 cm below the area where elbow pain is experienced.
The brace not only absorbs the shock, it also spreads the tension that is felt while performing any activity that involves a large area of the arm. The brace can help deal with the vibrations that are felt in the arm when performing any physical activity. It might help provide a better grip. If your work involves repetitive movements of the arm or wrist, you can wear an elbow strap to prevent this condition.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.