Causes, symptoms and treatment
Tennis or golfer’s elbow – also called epicondylitis radialis humeri in the medical field – develops due to excessive strain on the forearm muscles and their tendon insertions.
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Possible causes include using an improper technique in racquet sports (such as tennis or badminton), one-sided strain – for instance while using a computer keyboard and mouse – or an improper posture at work, while doing housework and gardening or during recreational activities.
Symptoms include a progressive loss of strength in the fist and worsening of the symptoms due to rotation movements. Lifting and carrying items such as coffee cups or books gets extremely difficult, and even shaking hands becomes almost impossible due to pain.
Tennis or golfer’s elbow is generally a difficult diagnosis to make since the location of the disease is often described differently. Ultrasound and functional test procedures are frequently used in addition to the anamnesis (consultation). During functional test procedures, the doctor may for instance conduct a resistance test – the patient makes a fist and pushes the arm up against force – to check whether this increases the pain.
There are various therapy approaches. Aside from physiotherapy procedures, these include, for example, cooling treatment, vibration therapy, ultrasound, electrostimulation therapy and muscle strengthening exercises, but also immobilisation at times. Orthoses help to relieve symptoms as well. Surgical treatment is used in rare cases.