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Injury Prevention by Mike Carlson - Men's Fitness

Men's Fitness
Oct, 2001

Author/s: Mike Carlson

ONLY ABOUT 5 percent of all tennis-elbow cases--the inflammation of the outer part of the elbow--involve tennis players. TE can just as easily occur as a result of weightlifting or using your mouse or keyboard. "It usually is related to a repetitive overuse with your hand and wrist," says Nicholas A. DiNubile, M.D., a member of the Men's Fitness Advisory Board and an orthopedic consultant to the Philadelphia 76ers. If the outer portion of your elbow hurts when you grasp a barbell or dumbbell, you've likely got TE.

You can self-treat tennis elbow by cutting back on the injuring activity (if you can figure out what that is) for a week or so, icing the elbow for 15 to 20 minutes three or four times a day, taking an anti-inflammatory medicine, and massaging and stretching the forearm area. But DiNubile recommends getting it checked out by an orthopedic surgeon who specializes in sports medicine and who can check for other problems that mimic tennis elbow, such as a pinched nerve. The doctor can also recommend physical therapy and help you figure out what's causing the problem. "The challenge with tennis elbow is preventing recurrences," DiNubile says. Acupuncture has helped some sufferers, but surgery should be a last resort, he adds. While a cortisone shot can be an option, getting more than three in one year for the same body part can weaken tissue. Also, be wary of a doctor who immediately treats you with a cortisone shot without considering preventive measures or the underlying causes.






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