Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a repetitive strain injury. Tasks that stress the muscles and tendons around the elbow cause this condition. The most common causes of tennis elbow are repeated engagement in sports such as tennis, squash, fencing, and weightlifting. Other activities can also lead to tennis elbow, including carpentry, painting, typing, and knitting. The symptoms of tennis elbow include pain and difficulty performing everyday tasks. The pain is centered on the outside of the elbow but can radiate up and down the arm. Generally, people feel the worst pain when undertaking the task that caused the injury in the first place. If you feel pain on the inside of the elbow, this could be a sign of a different injury known as golfers elbow.
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In most cases, over-the-counter pain medication and rest will relieve the pain and symptoms associated with tennis elbow. If the pain continues and you find you are no longer able to perform basic tasks, see a medical professional. Physical therapy and surgery can treat long-term or chronic tennis elbow. Generally, a few days of rest and the application of ice will solve the problem. Finding different or more ergonomic ways to perform the problematic task, and strengthening the related muscles, can help prevent recurrence. If the pain felt in the elbow is severe or sharp, this could indicate a more serious injury such a cracked or broken bone.
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