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Why Does It Hurt To Straighten Your Elbow?

Before coming on to the type of movement affected one should know what is the problem in tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is not all about tennis players. Though it is seen commonly in tennis players, but others also can suffer from this medical condition of tennis elbow where there is strain on elbow. Usually occurs while squeezing of elbows or lifting heavy objects similar to suitcases.[1]

Why Does It Hurt To Straighten Your Elbow?

Why Does It Hurt To Straighten Your Elbow?

Tennis elbow is described as pain and tenderness in the elbow joint and that pain and tenderness are not due to a deformity in bone, but it is only due to non-specific inflammation at the origin of extensors muscles. Extensor muscles are mostly involved and are the main cause of pain and tenderness.[2]

The reason for the difficulty in extension is that while a patient extends their hand and straighten the elbow, strain is imparted on extensor muscles, which are originated from lateral epicondyle. Due to that strain, the patient finds it difficult to extend one’s arm. As the patient tries to extend arms, there is stretching of muscles of extensors and hence pain.

So at times, patient resists the extension of hand so as to avoid pain and discomfort to the affected hand. The minimum extension is done by the patient so that little stretching occurs.

Apart from preventing extension patient should even start with ice therapy, as it will reduce pain sensations and help immensely. If there is swelling at the affected site elevation should be done so as to prevent accumulation of fluid and swelling. As swelling increases, there is compression of muscles which will further increase the pain on movement. Consequently timely management is required to reduce inflammation at the site.

The investigation is based on clinical signs and symptoms. X-rays are never helpful as there is presence of soft tissue injury, rather than a bone deformity.

So, treatment should be symptomatic. There is no bone deformity so there is no need for x-ray and other specific investigations.[3]

Thus, straightening of the elbow should be avoided as there is inflammation of extensor muscles. So extension causes severe pain. Accordingly, treatment should be given if the patient is not improving on medical treatment physiotherapy should be done so as to improve the chance of recovery.

Mostly patient can relief from rest and at times there is a need for physiotherapy. The rule of thumb in all the orthopedic condition is early detection and rest. Early treatment should be done. Similarly, in the case where clinical features appear, early reduction should be done before it involves any nerve. If it involves any nerves of vessels high chance of Volkmann’s ischemic contracture, so early treatment and diagnosis are essential to get rid of multiple problems which may arise as a complication.

Therefore, timely management is the key to treatment.

A patient presenting late-night lend up into complications. So, every case should be considered an emergency and all the necessary investigations should be done to plan the treatment.

All that is needed is high vigilance to get rid of complications and in the case of tennis, elbow rest is mandatory. Avoid all those activities which cause strain to extensor of the elbow. So, excessive extension and flexion of the wrist aggravates the pain hence a comfortable posture should be advised to all the patients. Early recovery is only through rest and rest. A number of orthopedic problems require rest for a considerable amount of time then only complete recovery can occur.

“Prevention is better than cure” -aptly said and especially this should be followed in case of orthopedic injuries as timely management of elbow problem prevents complication. So, a good diagnosis and a good treatment are mandatory. And hence a good and meticulous doctor can detect any abnormality on time.[4]


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:December 15, 2020

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