Medically referred to as lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow is an injury of the elbow muscles that causes shooting pain in the upper forearm, just near the elbow. It can restrict your range of motion and prevent you from performing simple tasks involving you to lift objects or bend or stretch your arm.
Who’s most likely to sustain this injury? Here are a few factors that may put you at risk.
Tennis elbow is likely to affect individuals over the age of 30. In fact, most cases of tennis elbow involve individuals between the ages of 30 and 50.
Another risk factor for tennis elbow is the overuse of the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle. The ECRB muscle is located in the raised region of the humerus, and is crucial in the movement of the hand, elbow, and forearm. If the muscle is overused, for instance, if the elbow is bent and straightened too often, it grazes the bone. This leads to muscle weakening and degenerating overtime. The wear and tear of the ECRB muscle lead to inflammation, pain, and eventually, tennis elbow.
As the name suggests, tennis elbow is especially common among tennis players. Playing racquet sports greatly increases the risk of developing this condition as it involves performing repetitive motions that strain the elbow muscles. It is also common among athletes who participate in different sports—for instance, golf, swimming, or polo—that involve similar motions.
However, athletes aren’t the only ones affected by this condition. In fact, tennis elbow may occur among people from a diverse range of professions and occupations. For example, carpenters, painters, janitors, and plumbers are all likely to have this condition because of the nature of the tasks they perform. Their work also involves the twisting and stretching of the elbow muscles repeatedly, increasing their risk of tennis elbow.
Inadequate Equipment or Technique
One of the reasons why tennis players get elbow injuries of this sort is because they use inadequate equipment or athletic techniques while playing the sport. Using a racquet that’s too big or too small, too heavy or too light, or isn’t strung correctly can exert pressure on the elbow muscles.
Similarly, the technique you adopt for your game also impacts the likeliness of getting tennis elbow. An improper stroke technique such as when you use the elbow for exerting the hitting force instead of your core muscles can also increase the risk of sustaining an elbow injury. Additionally, failing to warm up before you play also makes the elbow muscles more susceptible to injury.
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