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Elbow Tendinitis: It’s All in the Swing


When swinging your arm causes a sharp pain at the elbow, a tennis racket or your favorite driver can quickly go from a fun stress release to a torture device at the other end of your grip.

Tennis elbow, golfer’s elbow and pitcher’s elbow all represent a swelling of elbow tendons that occur from repetitive motion. Though these injuries are nicknamed for popular sports, any pushing or pulling arm movement – vacuuming, raking leaves, gardening, for example, can actually cause tendinitis in the elbow. Yes, you really can injure your arm doing household chores.

From weekend sports to cleaning, these activities all have a similar motion that involves a tight grip, arm rotation and flexing and extension of the wrist. The combination of these actions causes the swelling to occur on either the inside or outside elbow tendons, depending on the mechanics of the reoccurring motion at the elbow and wrist.

Elbow tendinitis may not be accompanied by visible swelling, but the pain will be apparent when you bend and straighten your elbow or in the forearm when you make a fist or try to grasp small objects. Whichever symptom shows up first, listen to your body’s call for rest. And if your tennis, golfer’s or pitcher’s elbow is accompanied by inflammation, the first course of action is to follow the RICE method of healing: Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation.

After approximately a week of rest, you can try to resume your regular activities. If the pain is gone, congratulations. Your tennis elbow was most likely from overuse. You can continue to enjoy your tennis or golf outings (or chores), but should consider adding some light muscle training to strengthen your arms and relieve pressure on the tendons in the elbow.

If your elbow pain is more severe or is still present after a week of rest, you may want to seek the opinion of a medical professional. If left untreated, this type of pain may actually spread to other parts of the arm as the body tries to overcompensate for the original injury.

Regardless of whether your elbow pain disappears after a week of rest or is still present, reinjury is common. Along with light muscle training and/or a physical therapy program prescribed by your doctor, a support brace for your elbow provides exact compression to relieve pain.

Bauerfeind’s EpiTrain® elbow brace stimulates the arm muscles to help speed repair and recovery from injuries like golfer’s elbow.

Learn more about the EpiTrain elbow brace

Photo uploaded to Flickr by Trysil under a Creative Commons license, some rights reserved.