Elbow Tendonitis Information
Elbow tendonitis is the inflammation, swelling and irritation of the tendons in the elbow area. Most of the pain and irritation of elbow tendonitis is felt close to the elbow area at the end of the tendon. This pain is often felt during or after activity (such as playing tennis or working on a production line) but may be felt constantly throughout the day as the condition worsens.
Why Elbow Tendonitis Develops
There are several reasons why you might develop elbow tendonitis. The first, and the most common, is overuse of the tendon during work, sport or physical activity. Factory workers commonly develop elbow tendonitis while working on factory lines due to the repetitive and manual nature of their job. Elbow tendonitis is also common amoungst tennis players, squash players and golfers. As we age tendons lose their elasticity and become brittle. This means that elderly people are prone to developing elbow tendonitis.
The Elbow Anatomy
The elbow is basically a hinge joint allowing us to extend and contract our arms. The diagram below shows a detailed picture of the elbow and arm anatomy. You can see in the arm on the left the tendons running down the back of the elbow. It's this group of tendons that becomes inflamed with elbow tendnitis.
Causes of Elbow Tendonitis
Elbow tendonitis can be caused by a number of factors. Here are some common causes:
Elbow tendonitis is often associated with racket sports like tennis or squash, but in actual fact they only make up around 10% of elbow tendonitis cases. Most elbow tendonitis conditions develop at work, in particular in people who work in factorys.
It's very important that you know and recognize elbow tendonitis symptoms early. In most cases if the condition is diagnosed and treated early enough it will heal fully without the need to see a doctor. Here is a list of elbow tendonitis symptoms:
Usually the first elbow tendonitis symptom you will feel will be pain behind your elbow joint (where the tendon meets the elbow) during or after activity. This is a sign that tendonitis is developing. Even if the pain is only slight, you should apply R.I.C.E treatment (see treatment section below) to the area.
Treating Elbow Tendonitis
The goal of elbow tendonitis treatment is to reduce inflammation and relieve pain. In most cases, elbow tendonitis can be treated using a combination of rest, inactivity and common pain relievers. Here are the steps you should take if you start to develop elbow tendonitis:
In most cases if you follow the steps mentioned above, and give your elbow plenty of rest, the tendontiis should heal. If you return to activity and the symptoms develop again, you may have not had enough rest. Rest longer and repeat the treatment steps again. If you do this and you still develop elbow tendonitis symptoms it's time to consult your doctor for further treatment options.
Your doctor will examine the area and may then order some tests such as X-rays, MRI or ultrasound. You may be prescribed medication for the pain and inflammation. In more severe cases, weak steriod injections may be given to help rebuild strength in the area.
There are several measures you can take to help prevent elbow tendonitis developing. It's important that you warm up and stretch before exercise or activity. If you work in a factory or manual job, you should do some light warm up and stretching exercises before you start work and return to work after breaks.
Not training above your body's ability during exercise is also important. You must build up to intense and frequent training, not jump straight into it.
And finally, you should always cool down and stretch after exercise. This helps the tendons stay more elastic and improves flexibility. The more flexible you are, the less likely you are to develop elbow tendonitis.