With Wimbledon fast approaching it seemed only appropriate to turn our attention to tennis-elbow which seems a very British disease having originally been called Lawn Tennis Elbow in 1873.
Actually it’s not limited to tennis and other sports claim it for themselves – ‘archer’s elbow’ and ‘shooter’s elbow’ are other names for it.
Tendonitis is a self-limiting condition – that means it will repair itself providing you don’t keep aggravating it and let it rest. However for the sports person it should also be seen as a symptom of poor technique. Let’s be honest here nature never intended the body to hit small round things at over 100 miles an hour with a large metal and gut lever to add to the stress your joint has to take.
Our advice if you get the problem is first to rest, then go and get a professional to take a look at your style of play to see if there’s anything you could change to make your sporting life easier on the body.
Outside of sport ‘violinist’s elbow’ is also common – which is a bit strange seeing as it seems to contradict the old adage ‘fit as a fiddler’s elbow’. Anyway you get the picture – too much exertion of the elbow and you risk it becoming a pain.
The elbow is quite a complicated joint and the tendons that join the bones to the muscles take a lot of stress in the everyday world as a matter of course. The main cause of tennis-elbow is making them work too hard too often. If you do too much you create minute tears (as in tearing, not crying) in the extensor tendon. That’s not good and causes the area to swell. At the same time your nervous system wants to stop you doing whatever it is you’re doing so the body can repair itself and sends pain signals to the brain.
Tennis elbow always occurs on the outside of the elbow. If you get pain on the inside of the elbow you have ‘golfer’s elbow’. Not surprisingly right handed people mostly get the problem in their right elbow and left handed people get it in their left. Basically like ‘jumper’s knee’ and ‘swimmer’s shoulder’ all these injuries are some form of tendonitis.