Lateral epicondylitis, a repetitive strain injury causing pain in the arm and elbow, is commonly referred to as tennis elbow. It is a form of tendonitis, which is swelling of the bands (tendons) of tough tissue connecting the lower arm muscles to the bone.
Causes of the condition
Unlike suggested by the common name of this repetitive stress injury, tennis elbow is not something only tennis players have to deal with. It can, in fact, be caused by a variety of sports (including fencing, racquetball and squash; weight lifting and, of course, tennis); hobbies like knitting, for instance, and accidents at work or work related activities. Carpenters, painters and typists, as well as gardeners are all at risk of developing this upper limb disorder, as is anyone else who regularly performs gripping activities (especially if these activities involve repeated use of the thumb and the first two fingers).
The symptoms of lateral epicondylitis include tenderness and pain within the bony knob situated on the elbow’s outside, which is where the damaged tendons and bone connect. Pain may not be restricted to the elbow, but can radiate into the lower or upper arm and even into the hand. Most of the pain is caused while:
- Lifting objects
- Making a fist
- Gripping objects
- Opening doors
- Shaking hands
- Raising your hand
- Straightening the wrist
Another often work-related injury, golfer’s elbow (or medial epicondylitis) is very similar to tennis elbow, but affects tendons on the elbow’s inside.
How this sports or work injury is treated depends on the severity of the condition and may involve:
- Icing the elbow
- Using elbow straps
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication
- Performing varying motion exercises to increase flexibility and reduce stiffness
- Physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles
- Injections of painkillers or steroids
Severe cases of tennis elbow with no response to conservative treatments for up to four months may require surgery to remove damaged tendon sections and repair the remaining tendon.
When work was responsible
If you suffer lateral epicondylitis as a result of a work accident or because your work involved repetitive gripping, you may be able to make a repetitive strain injury claim. Specialising in work injury compensation since the year 2000, Accident Advice Helpline’s legal team operates on a no win no fee basis. Enlist the help of one of our highly trained in-house solicitors by calling our Freephone helpline now via 0800 689 0500.
Date Published: March 2, 2015
Author: Accident Advice