The tenderness and pain in your elbow interferes with almost every movement you make, hindering your activity and worried about your long-term mobility.
If this sounds like you, you are not alone. At any given time, 2 – 5% of the population is suffering the same as you.
Like you, your fellow sufferers often have a lot of questions.
Of these questions, two probably weigh heaviest on your mind: How can you be sure it is tennis elbow and how do you make the pain go away.
The answer to the second question depends on the answer to the first. If you want to effectively cure your pain, you must first make sure you are treating the right condition. But, what are the symptoms of tennis elbow?
Tenderness And Pain Starting At Your Elbow Joint
So, what are tennis elbow symptoms and how can you be sure this is what you have? First, start with the basics. The foremost sign of tennis elbow is a pain which starts and is most severe at your elbow joint.
When moved a certain way, the lateral epicondyle tendon, the outer tendon running from your elbow and connecting to the outer muscle running up toward your wrist, aches about 1 to 2 centimeters up from the elbow joint.
Essentially, it hurts the most at the extreme tip where tendon fibers connect to the elbow bone.
Movement is not necessary for you to feel pain. If the area experiences any pressure, such as pressure from touch, leaning on the elbow, or a bump into another object, the same pain will occur.
The pain can vary depending on how advanced your tennis elbow is. It can be a throb or a dull ache. However, it can also be a searing, sharp pain that feels similar to being stabbed.
All tennis elbow sufferers agree on this one complaint. Unfortunately, it can also be a sign of other problems.
For example, a contusion, or a black and blue “bump” on the elbow in just the right spot, can cause the same kind of pain. A dislocated joint would also have pain in the same area, but it would be almost debilitating at all times no matter if you are moving or still.
However, acute occurrences like a dislocation or a contusion have two aspects which tennis elbow does not. First, they typically have an identifiable cause such as a fall or some other accident.
Secondly, they quickly go away- although a dislocation will only go away once it is reset. Once they are gone, the pain does not come back.
If you cannot pinpoint the source of your pain, you probably do not have a contusion or dislocation. If the pain is lingering, you probably have tennis elbow. Looking at the more specific signs and symptoms of tennis elbow will help you be sure.
The pain of tennis elbow does not stop at the elbow. When moved or pressed in a certain way, the pain radiates up the forearm from the elbow. The more the problem advances, the further it will radiate until it reaches the other end of the lateral muscles at the wrist.
In advanced cases of tennis elbow, there is a constant dull ache or throbbing up and down your forearm. When moved or pressure applied, the ache becomes more severe.
However, it is rarely characterized as “searing” and “sharp” as it travels up your forearm and still only has that level of pain right at the elbow. Even the most severe ache should feel duller at the wrist than at the elbow.
The radiating pain is often confused with carpal tunnel syndrome.
However, there is a distinct difference between carpal tunnel and tennis elbow symptoms and treatment for one condition is not recommended for the other. Carpal tunnel is nerve damage in the wrist.
Therefore, the significant difference is the pain starts and is most severe at the wrist and travels downward toward the elbow. Secondly, carpal tunnel is always described as a sharp, searing pain and never as a dull ache.
Lack Of Swelling
Tennis elbow is often referred to as an epicondylitis. In orthopedic and sports medicine, epicondylitis is characterized as swelling in the tendon area. This is similar to the swelling you see when you have a sprain or a pull.
Calling tennis elbow a form of epicondylitis is actually a very common misnomer. When examined through imaging, there is rarely swelling present. Instead, the tendon’s collagen fibers are torn and in severe cases have an almost “shredded” appearance.
Many of these fibers are tipped with “fibroblasts” which are the collagen packets your body makes in an emergency to repair tendons. However, these fibroblasts have also been torn away and have begun to “layer”.
While this layering of fibroblasts and the accompanying blood vessels can make the area thicker, it is hardly recognizable to the human eye as “swelling”. It also is not accompanied with the traditional signs of swelling such as increased temperature and discoloring.
If you have these characteristics, you are most likely dealing with a sprain. The absence of these is a further indication toward tennis elbow symptoms.
Another classic symptom of tennis elbow is how it interferes with your grip. Holding an object, especially with your wrist extended, triggers an immediate onset of your symptoms. If you grip an object, such a tennis racket, the pain increases.
Many tennis elbow sufferers find the most everyday tasks trigger their pain. Shaking hands, turning a doorknob, opening a jar, and sometimes even writing with a pen can be a challenge. The longer the condition persists, the more your everyday movements will become limited.
Once again, it this is a sudden onset condition and appears to be getting better, you probably have a sprain or strain and not the chronic problem of tennis elbow.
If the condition seems to be progressing beyond your elbow and forearm to other parts of your body, you could have a degenerative disease which a doctor needs to take a look at.
However, if the problem lingers in your elbow and forearm, and there only, this is just another verification that you do, in fact, have tennis elbow.
Treating Your Condition
It is normally when everyday movements become excruciating that most people start researching their condition. Chances are you have or are planning to see a doctor. While a doctor can help you rule out other conditions, chances are they are not going to offer you long-term relief if you do have tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow will be relieved with your doctor’s prescribed painkillers and the rest he or she will surely recommend.
However, tennis elbow is an accumulative injury. This means as soon as your movements begin again, the tiny tears in your tendons will once again accumulate and, sooner or later, the tennis elbow pain will resume.
In Tennis Elbow Secrets Revealed you will learn how to cure your condition and get rid of your pain for good.
Developed by a physical therapist, this e-book will teach you the basics of short-term tennis elbow relief, including the R.I.C.E. (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation) method.
Furthermore, you will learn physical therapy movements to perform in your home to give you lasting, long-term relief.
By now, you should have a better understanding of your condition. It is more than likely you have tennis elbow, but now you know what that means for you. More importantly, now you know where to find help and how to make your tennis elbow symptoms go away.