Treatment and Prevention of Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is a painful medical condition due to overuse of the tendons in the elbow. Contrary to its name, tennis elbow does not happen to people who are active in playing tennis. Pain is usually felt in the muscles that are attached to the piece of bone that is bumped up at the elbow region. The intensity of pain depends on the severity of the injury and it can be treated using pain relievers for minor cases to surgery for major ones. What are some treatment methods and ways to prevent tennis elbow?

As mentioned above, tennis elbow is an overuse injury that can be caused by various reasons such as sports, gardening and even simple tasks such as lifting a plastic bag filled with groceries. This pain is caused by wear and tear of the common extensor tendon, leading to inflammation and swelling.

The most important treatment that can be administered is rest. Careful attempts to reduce repetitive motions in order to prevent further aggravation of the tendon are crucial and this can be kept in check by using an elbow brace. An effective elbow brace will wrap snugly around the forearm below the elbow and prevent unwanted movements that can hinder recovery efforts. Another type of common treatment method is the oral consumption of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. NSAIDs help to reduce inflammation and bring down selling, but they do not heal the injury. They simply make the injury feel much more bearable to the patient. Applying a nice cold ice pack at home or in the office can also help to bring down the inflammation and reduce swelling. Cold packs will constrict the blood vessels and reduce blood flow, resulting in lesser movements in the elbow region. To tackle the problem at its roots, you can choose either to perform physical therapy or undergo surgery. Physical therapy will help to strengthen the muscles and soft tissues around the elbow to help better support your injured elbow. It takes place under the supervision of a trained physical therapist that will provide quality advices. For serious cases, surgery is often required to stitch up the injured tendon and snip off the loose parts which are causing irritation to the nearby tissues.

The best prevention tips for tennis elbow are strengthening exercises and reducing chances of overusing the elbow. Stretching and strengthening the muscles will ensure that you have the physical strength to perform out activities without increasing the chances of injuries. Do not overuse your elbow joint by constantly alternating your hands when you are performing strenuous activities and if they are to be done for a long period of time, use an elbow brace.

Importance of Recovery Period In Your Exercise Regime

Rest and recovery is probably the most important part of your exercise regime. Sufficient rest is required to maintain high level performance levels but many people still choose to over train and overuse their muscles. Too much rest will cause you to lose the intensity while too little will cause you to burn out fast. You need to strike a balance between rest and training. Repair and strengthening of the body doesn’t take place during the exercise itself. Instead, they happen when the body is at rest.

Recovery starts the moment you stop exercising. The glycogen in your muscle will be replenished and your body will start to repair muscles that are damaged such as minor muscle tears. It is through this process that your muscles get stronger and firmer. Imagine yourself twisting a paper clip now. The more you twist it, the stronger and more difficult it becomes. Your muscles will be able to withstand stronger loads the next time. However, all these are only possible through rest and recovery.

Sufficient recovery time also helps to burn more fats in your body. You can be doing a lot of cardiovascular training but without sufficient rest, you cannot burn off the fats effectively. Recovery allows the body to have time to fully stretch and contract the muscles and increase the heart rate. This increases metabolism and eat away excess fats.

Many athletes suffer from injuries simply because they over train and overuse their muscles. Without sufficient recovery periods, the muscles are unable to cope with the intense activities going on and pre-existing injuries will be amplified. Insufficient rest will also cause you to lose focus on what you are doing at the moment and this can be very dangerous, especially if you are lifting heavy weights.

Another extremely important reason why recovery is important is to allow sufficient rehydration of the entire body. Intensive training will use up all the fluids in the body and if they are not replenished, it can cause muscle cramps and even cause the body to break down. The muscles need to be constantly fed with electrolytes to keep them in optimum condition.

Rest and recovery are the most important part of a training regime. Although you may be tempted to not rest during exercises hoping to gain more muscles, it can lead to injuries and cause a negative effect for the body. Recovery also helps to repair the body and prevent injuries such as shoulder pain or elbow pain especially if you are playing sports such as tennis.

5 Applications of Shockwave Therapy

Extracorporeal shock wave therapy or more commonly known as Shockwave therapy is a non invasive medical treatment that sends acoustic waves to injured parts of the body with the intent to reduce pain and promote healing. The shockwaves used for Shockwave therapy is similar to those used to break down kidney stone, but it is only at one tenth of the intensity, rendering it rather safe for the body. There are many uses of shockwave therapy and it can be widely applied to treat different injuries. Let’s take a look at some of the common applications of Shockwave Therapy.

Decrease pain

Shockwave therapy promotes hyperaemia which is actually the increase in blood flow to a targeted part of the body. Hyperaemia is the basis of shockwave therapy and the increase in blood flow provides extra energy and loosens up the muscles and path interactions between the actin and myosin. This will reduce muscle tension and decrease pain.

Dispersion of substance P

Substance P is a neuropeptide in the body and it functions as a transmitter and modulator for nerve communication. The main purpose of substance P is to modulate inflammation. Shockwave therapy can efficiently disperse substance P and increase the secretion of histamine. Dispersion of substance P also helps to reduce pain in the affected area and reduce the risk of developing oedema or fluid retention.

Increases collagen production

Collagen is the main protein that is found in the connective tissues throughout the body. It works together with elastin to provide structure and flexibility to the skin. Collagen is also the pre-requisite for any repair mechanism in the body that is due to a damaged ligament structure. Shockwave therapy will help to stimulate collagen production in the deeper layers of the tissues and this is something that you can never achieve just by taking collagen supplements.

Increases metabolism

Shockwave therapy removes nociceptive metabolites and helps to increase oxygen levels in the body and increasing the energy source. It also helps to reduce histamine which is acidic and increases the metabolism rate in the body.

Plantar fasciitis

Shockwave therapy will over stimulate nerves that are responsible for the transmission of pain to the brain, reducing pain immediately. It will also trigger the healing mechanism of the body and increases the formation of blood vessels in the affected area, speeding up the recovery process.

Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive treatment method that can be used for treating soft tissue injuries. Since it is non-invasive, there is minimal downtime and a hospital stay is not required. However, shockwave therapy may be painful for some but it is otherwise tolerable.

Top 3 Most Common Elbow Injuries

Our elbow is basically a joint in which the humerus bone, ulna bone and the radius bone is connected together to form a joint that functions like a hinge. The radius bone and the ulna bone also enable the elbow to rotate around the forearm. The main function of the elbow is to move forward and back as well as rotate around. Tendons are connected to the elbow and they can be easily injured either due to a sudden impact or due to ageing. The elbow is one of the most easily injured parts of the body as it is like a ball and socket joint in which the ball can easily slip out of the socket. Let’s look at some of the common elbow injuries.

Dislocation

Elbow dislocation is one of the few serious elbow injuries that can be sustained. Dislocation is often caused by trauma or injury such as a sudden impact from full contact sports such as rugby or high falls from activities such as rock climbing. The patient will suffer an immediate loss of motion in the elbow and severe pain. Depending on the severity, the elbow may even look like it is deformed due to the bones sticking out. The bones will need to be rejoined back in the shortest possible time. Most people will try to push back the bone but this is a huge mistake as it should only be performed by highly trained medical personnel under sedation to prevent further damages to the surrounding tendons.

Fracture

Fracture is another serious elbow injury and the symptoms are similar to a dislocation. It is also caused by sudden impact or fall from great heights and landing on a hand, causing the elbow to fracture. Patients will suffer a loss in range of motion but not as much as a dislocation. In more severe cases, patients may even experience numbness and this can indicate possible nerve damages. Since fractures are cracks in the bone, patients can experience a loss in blood circulation and this can be easily diagnosed by a lower temperature in the injured area or a weakened pulse.

Olecranon Bursitis

Patients who are suffering from Olecranon Bursitis will experience swelling at the elbow and will feel pain with every movement. Olecranon Bursitis is due to the inflammation of the bursa and this is often caused by overuse of the elbow or infection. This is usually due to prolonged periods of leaning on the elbow with the whole body weight leaning on it.

Elbow injuries are inevitable at some point in time of your life. However, the elbow is a part of our body which is heavily used daily and if we fail to take good care of it, it will cause much inconvenience to our daily lives.

 

Sprained, Tears or Fractured?

Sports injuries are inevitable at some point in time of your life. After a hard training session or a game of your favourite sports, there will definitely be those post game aches and pain that you will suffer which are perfectly normal. In unwanted cases, you could have landed badly from a jump or fell awkwardly on your shoulders, resulting in a swollen ankle or shoulder. You try to self medicate but what injury is it exactly? Is it a sprain, muscle tear or a fracture? How do you differentiate them from one another?

Sprains

A sprain occurs when you stretch or partially tear the fibrous tissues or more commonly known as your ligaments. They occur mostly in places such as your ankles and wrists. Ligaments helps to connect the connective tissues from your bones to your joints. There are three degrees of sprains namely the first, second and third degree. Some signs of sprains include pain, bruising, tenderness, inflammation, swelling and immobility of the affected area. Sprains can usually heal on their own but more serious sprains may require surgery. Always see a doctor if the pain is excruciating or you suffer from numbness in the area which could imply something more serious.

Tears

Muscle tear or commonly known as muscle strain implies that you have torn a muscle or a tissue called tendons. They occur most commonly in places such as the hamstring which is located at the back of you thigh. Muscle tear can cause severe pain and inability to walk or carry out normal functions properly. They are commonly caused by over use of muscles, suddenly pulling of the affected tissues and cyclic cycles of muscles.

Fracture

Fractures are probably the most serious as compared to tears and sprains. A fracture implies that there is a broken or cracked bone involved. Fractures are extremely serious injuries and you must seek a doctor immediately. Common symptoms include difficulty in breathing, loss of mobility at the affected area, fingers or toes turning blue due to lack of blood flow and seeing a bone sticking through the skin. There are two types of fractures namely the acute and stress fractures. Simple acute fractures are caused by a sudden hard blow to the bone resulting in the bone breaking, causing injury only to the bone and not to the surrounding tissues. If you see a bone sticking through your skin, you have a compound acute fracture which will cause infection to the surrounding tissues and are much more serious. Stress fractures are normally from repeated stress on your affected area mainly caused by sports or gymnastics.

Now that you know what sports injury you are suffering from, you can do the necessary R.I.C.E actions and seek a doctor if you need to. There are so many different sports injuries and above are only three of them. Always consult a doctor if you are unsure as wrong self mediation can further aggravate the injury.

Types of Olecranon Bursitis Treatment for Elbow Pain

Elbow pain is something that is very common nowadays and can happen to many people especially those who participates in activities that requires the repetitive usage of the elbow, which in turn places extreme pressure on the structures of the elbow joint.

If the bursitis is due to infection, the bursa can be drained away with the usage of a needle and the fluid removal relieves pain. Antibiotics may also be prescribed to fight the infection. However if the bursitis is not due to infection, it can be treated with either surgical or non surgical methods.

Elbow pads

Usage of an elbow pad cushions the elbow and acts as a support for the elbow. While it is only temporary, it provides protection for the elbow and allows short term relief.

R.I.C.E

Rest the elbow as much as possible when you can as it will help to decrease the swelling and prevents the bursitis from worsening. When the pain subsidies, proceed to do simple but slow movements.

Ice allows the blood vessels to become smaller which will in turn decrease inflammation. Place crushed ice into a wet towel and place on the elbow for 15 minutes, four times a day. Or you can use a bag of frozen peas for convenience.

Compression prevents or reduces swelling. Wrap the injured elbow with an elastic bandage and make sure it is tight not to the extent blood flow is hindered. Take it off every 4 hours.

Elevating the elbow to below the heart level reduces swelling. Elevate the elbow when you are resting, especially during your sleep time. Place the injured elbow on several pillows.

Steroids

Doctors may opt to inject steroids which will help to decrease swelling and pain, providing relief. You may feel that you have fully recovered as you cannot feel pain and the swelling have subsided. However, do not exert stress n the elbow as it may worsen things.

Physiotherapy

Through the usage of ultrasound, increased blood flow to the area can be obtained. Slow and repeated exercises can increase the strength of the elbow and increase the range of motion, but only start it after the bursitis has healed.

Surgery

If the bursa is infected and antibiotics and drainage has no effect on it, surgery might be the only possible option left. The infected will be removed under general anesthesia, and this is often done together with the usage of oral antibiotics. After a few months, the bursa will grow back as an uninfected, perfectly normal bursa.

Tennis Elbow Exercise

Tennis elbow exercises are useful to smoothen the pain inflicted by tennis elbow injury. This exercise for tennis elbow is to eliminate the root of weak muscles problem in the forearm.This workout can also act as a good follow-up healing exercise for individuals who have undergone a tennis elbow surgery. Never belittle the benefits of these workouts as it can greatly help in preventing tennis elbow problem from arising.

1) Tennis elbow exercises using a hammer

The purpose of this hammer exercise is for forearm pronation and supination strengthening.

Pronation and Supination 500x284

 

Pronation: It is the rotation of the forearm at the radioulnar joint, performed by the pronator quadratus and pronator teres muscle. In the natural anatomical position, pronation refers to the palms facing downwards when the body is lying on its back; for example during an autopsy.

Supination: Similarly the rotation of the forearm is at the radioulnar joint, however performed by the Biceps Brachii and the Supinator Muscle. Supination is the opposite of pronation, referring to the palms facing upwards in a natural anatomical position.

Forearm Pronation and supination strengthening

Using this method of exercise will require you to have an object that has a huge mass on one end, such as a hammer for the start. This can be easily be replaced by having a tennis racket.

First, you will need to place your forearm on a flat surface with your hands facing up. There should not be anything in between your hand and the floor. Next, grab the object (hammer) at the handle, such that the head of the hammer is held at the end of your hand.

With the hammer in your hand, move your arm in a 180-degree motion similar to how a windscreen wiper operates. Start moving the hammer from the right over your hand, and then down to the left.

However, this exercise is subjective to individual, if you feel that your forearm muscles are not working, you may need to find a heavier item to replace the hammer or object you’re holding.

2) Rubber Band Exercise

Finger extension: Straightening of the joint resulting in an increase of angle; moving the distal two segments of the fingers away from the base of the fingers.

finger extensions

Using this form of exercise requires you to have a rubber band at your fingertips. It would be good to keep one around your wrist, so that you can perform this easy exercise whenever you feel like it.

All your fingers and thumb should support the rubber band. Next slowly widen your fingers such that the rubber band is being stretched. Practice 10-15 times per set. You are encouraged to do 3 sets a day while going through this rehabilitation process. While doing this exercise, you should feel your upper forearm being stretched. Alternatively, you may choose to hold onto the stretched position for 3 seconds before relaxing. Should the resistance be insufficient, you may also add additional rubber bands or change into a thicker one.

3) Weighted Wrist Exercise

The purpose of this exercise is for strengthening via Wrist Extension and Wrist Flexion.

Wrist Extension: Refers to the straightening of the joint resulting in an increase of angle; moving the back of the hand toward the back of the forearm. The muscles that are responsible for wrist extension include: Extensor Carpi Radialis Longus, Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis and Extensor Carpi Ulnaris.

Wrist Extension

In this exercise, you will need a weight, preferably a dumbbell between 1kg – 5kg, depending on your rehabilitation stage, injury and ability. Starting from the position similar to the elbow exercise, place your forearm on a flat surface and if possible extend your wrist beyond the edge of the surface, such that it isolates movements to your wrist.

Holding onto the weight, raise up your hand at the wrist joint slowly – concentric concentration, before lowering it slowly again – eccentric concentration.

Wrist Flexion: Refers to the bending of joint resulting in the decrease of angle; moving the palm of the hand toward the forearm. The muscles involved are Flexor Carpi Radialis and Flexor Carpi Ulnaris.

Wrist Flexion

 

In this exercise, likewise, the palm is in supine position holds onto the weight. Bend the wrist upwards slowly (concentric) and lower it down again slowly (eccentric).

Hope these few exercises are of great assistance in the rehabilitation for your elbow injury.