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DON’T LET TENNIS ELBOW RUIN YOUR FIRST SERVE
The forearm muscles that bend the wrist back are attached and connected by a single tendon. Tendons connect muscles to bone.
Tendons have high tensile strength. This means they can withstand high forces that pull on both ends of the tendon. When muscles work, they pull on one end of the tendon. The other end of the tendon pulls on the bone, causing the bone to move. The constant pull on these muscles and tendons causes general wear and tear.
The olecranon bursa, typically the area associated with Elbow Bump is located between the tip, or point, of the elbow (called the olecranon) and the overlying skin. This bursa allows the elbow to bend and straighten freely underneath the skin.
Lateral epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow, is not limited to tennis players. The backhand swing in tennis can strain the muscles and tendons of the elbow in a way that leads to tennis elbow. But many other types of repetitive activities can also lead to tennis elbow: painting with a brush or roller, running a chain saw, and using many types of hand tools. Any activities that repeatedly stress the same forearm muscles can cause symptoms of tennis elbow.
Causes of Tennis Elbow
- Overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm and elbow are the most common reason people develop tennis elbow. Apart from competitive sport, Hammering nails, picking up heavy buckets, or pruning shrubs can all cause the pain of tennis elbow.
- Tennis elbow often does not involve inflammation. Rather, the problem is within the cells of the tendon. Doctors call this condition tendinopathy. In tendinopathy, wear and tear is thought to lead to tissue degeneration. The collagen loses its strength. It becomes fragile and can break or be easily injured. Each time the collagen breaks down, the body responds by forming scar tissue in the tendon. Eventually, the tendon becomes thickened from extra scar tissue.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
- Tenderness and pain that starts on the outside of the elbow. The pain may spread down the forearm. It may go as far as the back of the middle and ring fingers.
- The forearm muscles may also feel tight and sore. The pain usually gets worse when you bend your wrist backward, turn your palm upward, or hold something with a stiff wrist or straightened elbow.
- Grasping items also makes the pain worse. Just reaching into the refrigerator to get a carton of milk can cause pain. Sometimes the elbow feels stiff and won’t straighten out completely.
Elbow Bump or Olecranon Bursitis is inflammation of a small sac of fluid located on the tip of the elbow. This inflammation can cause many problems in the elbow.
Causes of Elbow Bump
Bursitis is the inflammation of a bursa. The olecranon bursa can become irritated and inflamed in a number of ways.
In some cases, a direct blow or a fall onto the elbow can damage the bursa. This usually causes bleeding into the bursa sac, because the blood vessels in the tissues that make up the bursa are damaged and torn. In the skin this would simply form a bruise, but in a bursa blood may actually fill the bursa sac. This causes the bursa to swell up like a rubber balloon filled with water.
The walls of the bursa may thicken and remain thickened and tender even after the blood has been absorbed by the body. This thickening and swelling of the bursa is referred to as olecranon bursitis.
Olecranon bursitis can also occur over a longer period of time. People who constantly put
their elbows on a hard surface as part of their activities or job can repeatedly injure the bursa. This repeated injury can lead to irritation and thickening of the bursa over time. The chronic irritation leads to the same condition in the end: olecranon bursitis.
Symptoms of Elbow Bump
Olecranon bursitis causes pain and swelling in the area at the tip of the elbow. It may be very difficult to put the elbow down on a surface due to the tenderness. If the condition has been present for some time, small lumps may be felt underneath the skin over the olecranon. Sometimes these lumps feel as though some- thing is floating around in the olecranon bursa, and they can be very tender. These lumps are usually the thickened folds of bursa tissue that have formed in response to chronic inflammation.
Diagnosis of Elbow Injuries
At the Centre for Musculoskeletal Medicine we will first take a detailed medical history.
You will need to answer questions about your pain, how your pain affects you, your regular activities, and past injuries to your elbow. Following this a thorough physical exam will take place
You may need to get X-rays of your elbow. The X-rays mostly help your doctor rule out other problems with the elbow joint. If the diagnosis is not clear, your doctor may order other special tests such as an MRI.
Treatment for Elbow Injuries
The key to treatment is to keep the collagen from breaking down further. The goal is to help the tendon heal.
- Dry needling
- Soft tissue & joint mobilisation
- Ultrasound & Acupuncture
- Shock wave therapy
- Cortisone injection
- Plasma Rich Platelets. Platelets contain granules, which contain growth factors to stimulate healing of the tendon.
- Clinical Pilates
- Elbow strap
- Occupational advice How to rest your elbow and how to do your activities without putting extra strain on your elbow.