True Tennis Elbow is caused by injury – by damage – to the tendons that connect to your outer elbow area (the Lateral Epicondyle.)
And often damage to the muscles of those tendons – the muscles that make up your outer forearm.
The tricky part is that the damage can come in several forms and they’re as different as night and day.
The three main kinds of injury or “damage” that cause Tennis Elbow are:
- Larger tears (Strain Injuries),
- Very tiny tears (Microtrauma) And…
- Degeneration (breakdown)
Let’s start with larger tears, and get that out of the way, since they’re a much less common cause of Tennis Elbow.
Larger Tears: A Less Common But Serious Tennis Elbow Cause
Larger tears almost always happen because of sudden, forceful, traumatic injuries.We’re talking about when a muscle or tendon rips apart suddenly, which is also known as a strain.
Now, if you’re a Tennis Player with a case of Tennis Elbow, because of the more forceful motions inherent in that sport, it’s certainly possible you could have a strain – a torn muscle or tendon.
But if your problem ISN’T sports-related at all – and was instead caused by moderate, repetitive motions – like those involved in playing an instrument, or using a computer…
Then it’s very unlikely you have any larger tears, since there were no forceful motions involved that would cause such a tear.
You might have some smaller tears, however, which brings us to our second type of damage…
Microtrauma: Likely The Most Common Cause of Tennis Elbow
Microtrauma is simply microscopic damage – as in very small injuries or tiny tears.
And this microscopic tearing is considered to be one of the most common causes of Tennis Elbow tendon damage.
It can happen to anyone. Athletes, musicians, computer users and other working people doing almost any job.
It’s definitely not a sudden injury, though. It’s a slow, insidious process where the damage keeps happening gradually and repeatedly over a period of time.
And lastly, and worst of all, we come to the third type of tendon damage…
Tendon Degeneration: Unfortunately A Common, Serious – But Under-Recognized Tennis Elbow Cause
In the simplest terms, degeneration represents a complete failure of the healing process.
It’s a backward slide of gradual breakdown or even decay.
This is really bad stuff – And as we learned in InflammaSCAM, this kind of damage is unfortunately one of the most common causes of tendon pain.
And if this is what’s wrong with your tendon – technically you don’t have Tendonitis – what you really have is called Tendinosis.
Once again, as we talked about in “Tossing The Tennis Elbow Tendonitis Myth” – even though the official medical story may still blame tendon pain on inflammation and call it “Tendonitis”
…More and more often it’s being recognized that degeneration is the real problem, so it’s actually Tendinosis.
I suspect that’s because more and more tendon pain sufferers are getting MRI’s taken…
…and the evidence of degeneration can be seen that way – and therefore it’s being diagnosed as TendinOSIS a lot more often.
Now, obviously, you don’t just wake up one morning with degeneration and Tendinosis in your tendons.
All we can do is give it a general timeframe – We know it doesn’t happen in days or even weeks – We have to think in terms of months or years.
And I’m pretty sure we have to assume that the tendon first gets damaged in a less severe way – and that the damage is likely to be in the form of microtrauma, the microscopic tearing we just talked about.
And then if that doesn’t heal – and especially if it keeps happening – the tendon may start degenerating.
This is certainly not an easy thing to explain or understand – And I can’t claim to have a vast knowledge of it.
Medical researchers have been studying it for decades and it’s still perplexing to them.
Just the same, there are a couple of critical facts – and a common-sense idea I think you should be aware of:
First of all, this kind of degeneration happens to tendons quite often – but almost never to muscles.
Secondly, it is a simple fact that muscles heal much faster and easier than tendons – mainly because muscles have much better circulation – they have a richer blood supply.
Now, isn’t it reasonable to ask: Are these two facts related?
Once again, we have the fact that tendons have naturally poor circulation and heal slowly…
And then we have the fact that tendons have a tendency to break down and degenerate.
Well, to me it seems like common sense would suggest that since tendons are at risk of not healing well – or not healing at all – because they don’t have a rich blood supply…
It might be a good idea to do all we can to increase the circulation and therefore the amount of blood going to and from the tendon – in order to help the healing process – and hopefully reverse any degeneration.
That seems pretty reasonable, doesn’t it? – But what are we usually told to do instead?…
In the name of relieving pain – and out of some irrational fear of inflammation…
We’re instructed to ice repeatedly, take anti-inflammatories, get Cortisone shots, and wear constrictive braces…
All of which reduce circulation and inflammation – and therefore suppress our healing process and slow it down.
And do nothing to treat the causes of Tennis Elbow!
Hmmmm… Maybe we need to rethink that.
Now, we still need to explore in greater detail HOW the healing process is supposed to work from start to finish – before we can understand the best possible way to help speed it up…
So, in my next article and video for you, dedicated entirely to the healing process, you can watch after this.
Before we finish though, I just want to leave you with one simplifying and hopefully reassuring thought, because I know this probably all seems rather complicated.
That is, if you’ve reached the point of injury, the healing process works the same way no matter what type of injury you have: A tear – lots of microscopic tears, or outright degeneration.
You may never be able to find out exactly how badly your tendon is damaged – or exactly what kind of damage it is, unless you’ve had an MRI or you can get one…
The important thing is to understand how the healing process works, so you can help it instead of fighting it – because it’s not something you want to leave up to chance – and there’s a lot of bad, harmful advice out there.
So, go ahead and watch the muscle and tendon healing tutorial next, and learn about the three steps our muscles and tendons have to go through, in order to recover fully…
You’re going to discover where that process unfortunately gets stuck, all too often, and learn how to keep from getting stuck there, yourself!
Do You Need A Better Plan To Treat The Causes Of Your Tennis Elbow And Help It Actually Heal?
Well, you’re in the right place to:
- Learn more about the real causes of Tennis Elbow…
- Understand how the healing process of tendons really works…
- And if it fits your needs, to become a Gold Member
and get some real help learning how to treat and help yourself!
Learn about the Full-Access Gold Membership Program:
A complete video-tutorial program for treating all the muscle and tendon causes of your Tennis Elbow yourself at home:
More about Tennis Elbow Classroom Gold
What causes Tennis Elbow? (Overview)