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What is Tennis Elbow?
[Skeletal Arm] Tennis elbow is an injury to the muscles and tendons on the outside (lateral aspect) of the elbow that results from overuse or repetitive stress. The narrowing of the muscle bellies of the forearm as they merge into the tendons create highly focused stress where they insert into the bone of the elbow.
Mechanism of Injury
Injury to the lateral aspect of the elbow is the most common upper extremity tennis injury. Tennis elbow is generally caused by overuse of the extensor tendons of the forearm, particularly the extensor carpi radialis brevis. Commonly experienced by the amateur player, this injury is often a result of (1) a one-handed backhand with poor technique (the ball is hit with the front of the shoulder up and power generated from the forearm muscles), (2) a late forehand swing preparation with resulting wrist snap to bring the racquet head perpendicular to the ball, or (3) while serving, the ball is hit with full power and speed with wrist pronation (palm turned downward) and wrist snap which increases the stress on the already taught extensor tendons.
Medial epicondylitis is less common and characteristically occurs with wrist flexor activity and pronation. Medial epicondylitis can result from (1) late forehand biomechanics where the player quickly snaps the wrist to bring the racquet head forward, (2) the back-scratch or cocking phase when serving, which places tremendous stress on the medial tissues of the elbow, (3) in the right elbow of a right-handed golf swing by throwing the club head down at the ball with the right arm rather than pulling the club through with the left arm and trunk (also referred to as "golfers elbow"), or (4) improper pulling technique with certain swim strokes, especially the backstroke (also referred to as "swimmers elbow").
It should be kept in mind that elbow epicondylitis is not limited to those persons playing tennis, golf, baseball or swimming and can result from any activity that puts the lateral or medial compartments of the elbow under similar repetitive stress and strain (e.g., hammering, turning a key, screw driver use, computer work, excessive hand shaking).
Signs and Symptoms
Difficulty holding onto, pinching, or gripping objects
Pain, stiffness, or insufficient elbow and hand movement
Forearm muscle tightness
Insufficient forearm functional strength
Point tenderness at or near the insertion sites of the muscles of the lateral or medial elbow
More Information: http://www.nismat.org/ptcor/tennis_elbow/