Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a condition whereby you experience irritation or pain on the outside of your elbow. This can radiate to your forearm, wrist and hand. The irritation or pain is caused by the attachments of your tendons being overloaded. This can then cause tears in your tendons. This can happen if you’ve repeatedly made the same move or a wrong move several times. We call it acute tennis elbow if this has happened because you’ve made a wrong movement. It’s also possible that there was already a reduced quality of the tendon tissue at that time, but this doesn’t necessarily result in any symptoms. If you do develop symptoms afterwards, we refer to it as tennis elbow which has developed gradually over time. Anyone can get tennis elbow, but it’s most common in people between the ages of 40 and 50. This is because the muscles become stiffer and drier as people get older. Stress and smoking also increases the risk of tennis elbow.Overzicht gezondheidsklachten
Tennis elbow means you may suffer from:
- Pain or irritation on the side of your elbow.
- Red and hot skin.
- A swelling on the side of your elbow.
- Radiating pain to your forearm, wrist and hand.
- You have difficulty squeezing your hand, twisting your forearm and bending your wrist.
- Loss of strength in your arm. This occurs in very severe cases.
The symptoms usually disappear on their own, but this can take several months. In most people, the symptoms disappear within six months to a year. In the meantime, it's important for you to keep moving your arm and go about your daily activities as normally as possible. This will prevent your arm from stiffening. So don’t put your arm in a sling or splint. Just make sure you move carefully. Especially if the movement hurts. Does your arm hurt a lot? Then cool your arm down with ice or take a painkiller. You can start by taking a paracetamol and supplement it with an anti-inflammatory (ibuprofen, diclofenac or naproxen). Make sure you obtain advice from a pharmacist when using this kind of medication, as they can have unpleasant side effects and are not good for everyone. Also make sure you carefully read the package leaflets.Overzicht gezondheidsklachten
Has the pain not gone away, or have your symptoms worsened? Then contact your GP. He or she will investigate the cause of your symptoms and, in extreme cases, will give you a corticosteroid injection for the inflammation. However, it hasn’t been proven that this actually helps. The main thing is that you keep moving your arm in the right way. Do you find this difficult, or do you no longer dare to use your arm? Then your GP can refer you to a physiotherapist. He or she will support you with moving your arm in the right way and will give you appropriate exercises. You can also contact a physiotherapist yourself, because you don’t need a referral for this.Overzicht gezondheidsklachten