Most people are not aware of how often they use their elbows on a daily basis. This joint allows people to lift objects, play sports, and complete countless tasks. However, overusing this joint sometimes leads to a condition called tennis elbow. Despite the condition’s name being linked to playing tennis or racquetball, anyone can develop this painful condition if they do not follow certain precautions.
A person with tennis elbow experiences a range of symptoms in that joint. His or her elbow often is sore and warm to the touch, stiff to move, and painful even when the person is resting the arm. In fact, these symptoms stem from the tendon on the outside of the elbow being damaged. Once the tendon is healed, people’s arms feel better.
Healing this joint includes using over-the-counter pain relievers, resting, and possibly even surgery for the most severe cases of tennis elbow. Ibuprofen and analgesic muscle rubs provide temporary relief as the person heals. However, when these basic medications stop working, the person may require surgery.
Reducing one’s risk of tennis elbow can involve following certain precautions. People are generally advised to wear safety equipment such as elbow pads or braces as they work or engage in athletic competitions. Further, they should stretch their muscles before lifting heavy objects, playing sports, or doing any repetitive actions that involve using this joint.
If a person is prone to tennis elbow, that individual may consider reducing the amount of time he or she engages in activities that cause this condition. For athletes, this may involve playing sports less frequently or at a lower physical impact. As people age, this joint becomes more vulnerable. As such, maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly help keep people’s elbows limber. Taking vitamins with calcium and iron also helps.