Did you know that you can still get tennis elbow even if you don't ever play tennis? In principle, tennis elbow or golfer's elbow (epicondylitis) can start from any activity, in which the hand has to grip permanently with the elbow bent. These movements can overload the extensor tendons at the elbow. This then results in inflammation and pain.
These days tennis elbow occurs in people who often sit in front of a computer and work with the mouse. In tennis, it usually affects players with bad technique or athletes who simply try too hard.
Signs and symptoms
In general, the affected elbow only hurts when it is moved, for example, when gripping and lifting. The strength in the hand and fingers can decrease and it becomes more difficult to carry heavy objects. The muscles in the forearm are often very tense. Pins and needles may develop in parallel. The doctor makes his diagnosis on the basis of a simple physical examination. He asks the patient to extend his/her wrist and to turn the arm at the elbow against resistance. If the pain worsens, this is a sign of tennis elbow.
Risk factors and causes
Important: the cause is not at the elbow itself, but in the muscles of the hand and fingers. If these are chronically overworked or used incorrectly, tennis elbow can develop. This incorrect use or overwork typically occurs when using the mouse with a computer. But renovation or plastering work, screwing lots of shelves together, mowing the lawn or trimming the hedge put a strain on the muscles of the hand and thus on the elbow joint. Occupational groups such as plumbers or mechanics are also often affected.