Dr. Carlos Rebollón

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Epicondylitis or tennis elbow

Epicondylitis or tennis elbow in Panama

Epicondylitis, also known as tennis elbow, is an injury that causes pain on the outer part of the elbow. It is the inflammation of the tendons that connect the forearm and hand muscles to the epicondyle on the outer lateral side of the elbow. This musculature is responsible for controlling the main movements of the hand.

When these muscles are used repeatedly, small micro-injuries occur in the tendon. Over time, this leads to irritation and pain in the previously mentioned area. Any activity that involves repetitive wrist movements can lead to this injury.

Despite its name, athletes are not the only ones who develop tennis elbow. There are professions that, due to the repetition of a specific gesture or movement, are more prone to experiencing epicondylitis, such as painters, mechanics, laborers, or people who spend hours in front of a computer using a mouse. Racket sports (such as tennis, paddle) and throwing sports (such as baseball, golf) also contribute to tennis elbow.

Causes of Epicondylitis or tennis elbow

The main cause of epicondylitis is repetitive extension and supination movement of the forearm, which leads to tendonitis in the muscles and tendons located there. Epicondylitis is ultimately caused by repeated micro-traumas in the area.

As the name suggests, playing tennis, especially repeatedly using improper backhand technique, is one of the possible causes of tennis elbow. However, many other frequent movements can cause tennis elbow, such as repetitive use of plumbing tools, painting tools, cutting tools, or computer mice.

Symptoms of Epicondylitis or tennis elbow

The pain of tennis elbow is primarily felt at the location where the tendons of the forearm muscles attach to the bony protrusion on the outside of the elbow. The pain can also radiate to the forearm and wrist.

The pain and weakness can make tasks such as shaking hands, gripping an object, turning a doorknob, or holding a coffee cup difficult

Additionally, the pain does not decrease with rest, local cold application, or anti-inflammatory medication.

Epicondilitis O Codo Del Tenista

Prevention and treatment of Epicondylitis or tennis elbow

Epicondylitis can only be prevented by:

Maintaining good posture.

Performing proper movements during sports practice or work to avoid excessive stress on the tendons.

Properly resting the elbow after engaging in high-activity sessions.

Performing stretching exercises and preventive massages.

Considering sufficient rest, the tendon can repair itself. However, if the activity continues, the weakened tendon may be more vulnerable to rupture from a sudden accidental blow, a fall, or a forced movement.

If the injury is recent, rest and treatment of the injured tendon will likely result in healing with some scar tissue and maximum strength. Although a mild recent injury may require a couple of weeks of rest to heal, a severely damaged tendon may take months to repair.

Prevencion De Epicondilitis O Codo Del Tenista

Treatment for this type of injury should be prescribed by an elbow specialist depending on its severity. Initially, it can be treated with anti-inflammatory medication, rest, and physical therapy. In more acute cases, corticosteroid injections or limitations on movements or activities that provoke epicondylitis may be necessary.

If these treatments are not effective and the patient continues to experience symptoms and pain from epicondylitis, surgery may be considered. Ideally, individuals experiencing discomfort in these areas should consult a specialist in traumatology, especially those specialized in elbow pathologies, for an accurate diagnosis and treatment of this injury.

If you are in Panama and would like to receive a diagnosis and treatment for elbow injuries, I can help you overcome your discomfort. Feel free to contact me.

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