Do you know how to tell if you are suffering from tennis elbow?

Tennis Elbow is usually associated with a pain on the outside of the elbow and is usually tender to the touch.

Tennis elbow as the name might suggest,does not affect only tennis players in fact, 95% of all reported cases in the United States alone are not reported by tennis players.

A better understanding of the various groups of people more susceptible to tennis elbow actually aids faster diagnosis, and there is a high probability that such people might not know they are part of the high risk category.

It is not uncommon for tennis elbow sufferers to simply ignore the pain or pass it off as just a part of getting old…until it becomes a chronic problem.

Based on the occupation/sports that a person is engaged in there are two major groups of people that are susceptible to tennis elbow:

* People engaged in Manual Labor

There is a strong co-relation between the type of activity a person engages in and tennis elbow, since manual labor  involves lifting of heavy weights, or puts more than normal stress on the wrists, arm and elbow, people such as carpenters, plumbers, musicians, hairdressers, factory workers, nurses, baseball players, racket sport players are usually a high risk category for tennis elbow.

In addition tasks that involve long durations of wrist and elbow movement or having a tight grip on an object such as(innocently enough) a paint brush can lead to tennis elbow. Apart from manual laborers, there are also weight lifters that are a part of this high risk category, especially professional weight lifters that have been lifting weights since a very young age, make themselves susceptible to tennis elbow.

* Athletes

It’s called tennis elbow because, tennis players were one of the first group of people who reported the problem, this does not mean that only tennis players are afflicted by tennis elbow, however people who are engaged in racket sports like badminton are also equally susceptible to tennis elbow.

Athletes like golfers and those competing in more weight oriented sports like the shot put and the discuss throw have also been known to be affected by tennis elbow.

Essentially athletes are susceptible to wear and tear of the forearm, and elbow – especially those that require extensive wrist movement are more susceptible to tennis elbow. Since certain activities are more likely to affect a particular part of the elbow or arm, the symptoms experienced by people suffering from tennis elbow also vary, where as pain on the outside of the elbow is a common symptom other than that the, symptoms can vary from shooting pain in the forearm, to pain while lifting weights or pain during simple activities like using a wrench or screwdriver.

Depending on the particular tendon group that is damaged and other deciding factors, differential diagnosis of tennis elbow is divided into categories like:

– anconeus compartment syndrome

– bursitis

– cervical radiculopathy

– radio-humeral joint dysfunction

– lateral epicondyle avulsion

– musculocutaneus nerve entrapment

– non-union of radial neck fracture

– osteoarthritis

– posterior interosseous syndrome

– posterolateral rotatory instability

– radial nerve tension

– radial tunnel syndrome

– rheumatoid arthritis

– strained lateral collateral ligaments

– snapping plicae syndrome

Tennis Elbow Pain

Early stages: The first signs of tennis elbow would typically involve a small, dull pain on the outer part of your elbow. It’s not uncommon for elbow sufferers not to experience any direct elbow pain, until you massage, touch or accidentally bump your elbow. If and when you decide to get the pain in your elbow checked out by your doctor he/she may touch or massage your elbow to see what degree of pain you are suffering from.

Many of the common symptoms of early stage tennis elbow usually continue on for several weeks or months,
without any form of treatment. Only a small fraction of tennis elbow sufferers are lucky enough to recover
at this stage with treatment.

Symptoms at this early stage may include hand weakness and elbow pain while performing simple tasks such as using a knife to cut up food, gripping and carrying a briefcase or simply using a paint brush orsweeping with a broom. If you avoid these simple tasks, which unfortunately most people can’t, your condition
may improve but will most likely not heal.

When left untreated, your elbow pain sensitivity increases very quickly, for longer periods of time in the initial stages. The pain can be so intense that it could affect and disturb your night sleep and interfere with your work efficiency.

As you continue to ignore and brush off this elbow pain or mask it by consuming anti-inflammatories, your tennis elbow will only get worse to a point where you will be in constant and continuous pain, both during theday and night and even while sleeping(if you are able too).

It’s not uncommon to experience an extremely stiff arm when you wake in the morning and you are immediately in pain. Your daily activities and simple chores are not affected to the point that you can only carry out very light tasks and you find yourself becoming more dependent on others.

When not ignored and acknowledged and treated in the early stages, you stand a better chance of a full recovery from tennis elbow. As it will drastically reduce your risk of developing a permanent disability.

Later stages: In the later stages of tennis elbow, your elbow tendons and muscles deteriorate to the point where you may start to build up and develop scar tissue to the extent that the only way to get rid of the scar tissue would be through invasive tennis elbow surgery, which has a very low success rate with long recovery times.

Again in later stages you experience great pain with the slightest effort such as opening a bottle, shaking hands with someone, turning a doorknob, or even gripping your coffee mug. Tennis elbow can be difficult to treat in the later stages; so all care should be taken to recover from it early on.

More symptoms of tennis elbow at this stage include upper forearm aches and pain, stiffness in the elbow joints, tightness of the forearm muscles, grip weakness, clumsiness while holding things, swelling and inflammation of the elbow and upper forearm, tingling and numbness, etc.