What Causes Tennis Elbow?
It’s generally agreed upon that one of the main causes or risk factors of Tennis Elbow [Lateral Epicondylitis] is repetitive motions of the wrist, fingers and elbow – whether from tennis, golf, computer use, gardening or a host of other activities.
Unfortunately, if you have Tennis Elbow those repetitive motions became too much for you at some point, and your outer forearm muscles and their tendons became overloaded.
It’s tempting to “blame the tendons” and to become too focused on the elbow in seeking to relieve the pain, but I hope to show you that there is a bigger picture to see…
And much of it is in the muscles that actually create the “pull” on your tendons.
Muscles are there to create force or tension when we need to move and to keep us upright. When our muscles are in balance they contract when needed and relax when not needed.
But when our muscles are overworked and out of balance they can become persistently tight. And that stubborn muscle tension can become very harmful to our tendons if it continues too long:
The relationship between muscle weakness and Tennis Elbow is a little less obvious. There are several ways that muscle weakness can cause problems some directly and some indirectly.
And sometimes, if the “Tennis Elbow muscles” themselves are weak enough all by themselves, they can cause pain that feels like something more serious than it really is:
Damage is the real, defining issue. The kind and severity of the damage is what determines how bad your Tennis Elbow is.
Damage in your muscles is less serious and heals a lot more easily than damage to your tendons.
And one of the most important “key concepts” here is the understanding of how muscles and tendons heal and repair somewhat differently. Even thought they are two inseparable parts of the same “Unit” they have different healing challenges and needs: