Wrist Strain that Leads to Tennis Elbow

– The information has been reviewed by Dr. Tai Hei Yan

Those of us who frequently use our wrists at work may experience occasional pain in the area. If left untreated and subjected to repetitive use and strain, a common condition known as tennis elbow may develop. In severe cases, patients may experience a weakened grip, where they may be unable to hold a cup of water; or pain in the elbow, even when it is at rest. 

In cases of tennis elbow, the pain is on the outside of the elbow, where tendons of the forearm muscles attach to the lateral epicondyle of the humerus. Responsible for wrist extension and lifting movements, these tendons can become strained following repetitive motions, which can lead to inflammation.

Tennis elbow commonly occurs in individuals between 35 and 50 years of age, and is often seen in housewives or those who need to use their wrists frequently at work. Without appropriate rest and management, the pain may extend to the forearm muscles and fingers, possibly limiting the mobility of the elbow and affecting the patient’s quality of life in the long run.

When it comes to treatment of tennis elbow, obtaining an accurate diagnosis is crucial, as it is similar to another common condition known as golfer’s elbow. Tennis elbow, however, generally affects the outer side of the elbow as a result of frequent extension or twisting of the wrist. It is also important to understand the intensity and frequency of a patient’s pain, which can be determined using the visual analogue scale (VAS), where 0 indicates minimal to no pain and 10 represents severe pain.

The majority of cases may be managed with conservative treatment, such as with anti-inflammatory and pain relief medications, or through the use of a forearm strap or brace to reduce stress on the muscles and tissues. Physical therapy, which may include simple stretching exercises to strengthen the forearm and wrist muscles, using a sponge ball to enhance grip strength, or lifting dumbbells to strengthen the wrists, can also be helpful with recovery, improving endurance, and preventing recurrence.

Reminder: there are numerous treatment methods for tennis elbow, each with varying levels of effectiveness and side effects. Patients with questions should consult their doctor for more information and to determine the most appropriate treatment method for their specific condition.