6 Causes of Tennis Elbow

“Though we don’t think about our elbows, or how much we use them, they are crucial to the way we live our lives. Imagine not being able to ever bend your arm, or ever stretch it out,” observed orthopedic physician’s assistant Carla Robinson. Yet, when a person develops tennis elbow, he or she will probably think about the joint often. Since billions of dollars are spent on this painful condition each year, it is important to be familiar with its causes so a person may avoid such an injury.

1. Repetitive Motions

A person does not have to play tennis to suffer from this injury. One of the main causes of this condition is any type of repetitive motion involving the arm and elbow joint. In fact, when this condition was first described by German physician Dr. F. Runge in 1873, it was termed “writer’s cramp.” Later, it was known as “washer woman elbow.” Any motion that involves a repetitive strain on the tendon that connects the extensor muscle to the humerus bone of the elbow can cause this injury. This can happen when a person over exerts the elbow, forcefully overextends his or her arm, or makes a sudden strong pull with the arm.

Activities or occupations that involve repeated wrist and hand motions can overwork the elbow and its associated muscles and tendons. This includes painters, artists, butchers, and carpenters. Using plumbing tools, cutting up meat, driving screws, and using a computer mouse are all types of actions that can lead to tennis elbow. Once the tendon and muscle is injured, it will cause severe pain to the outside of the elbow, where the tendon attaches to the bone. The pain can even spread down the arm and toward the hand. It can make it painful to shake hands, twist a door knob, or hold a cup of coffee.