Friday, October 25, 2013

Tennis Elbow—When to Seek Medical Help

Tennis elbow may have derived its name from the popular lawn sport, but it's actually a misnomer because most people who suffer from it don't play tennis. By definition, tennis elbow is pain or soreness of the lateral side (the outer side) of an elbow that may extend down to the forearm and the back of the hand. Its symptoms include weakening of the grip, swelling and tenderness of muscles, tendons, and/or bony structures on the outside of the elbow, and pain in the elbow/arm area.

Tennis elbow is often the result of repetitive activities such as continuously extending the wrist or twisting the forearm to a “palm up” position. Plumbers, painters, cooks, butchers, and construction workers are just some of the people who often suffer from this condition. In sports, athletes who suffer from it are usually involved in a sport that requires them to grip something for long periods, such as a racket or a stick.

If it's your first time to experience tennis elbow, wait no longer than a month to have it seen by a medical professional. If you've had it before, seek medical help if conservative home treatments don't offer any improvement within four to eight weeks. Conservative home treatments for tennis elbow include ice or heat compression, and massage.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

What to Do about a Wrist Sprain or Strain

Wrist strains and sprains are common injuries that people often get mixed up. This is understandable since both involve the overstretching or tearing of a certain body tissue. The main difference is that sprains involve ligaments that connect one bone to another while strains involve the muscles and tendons that are attached to bones.

If you have strained or sprained your wrist, you may experience swelling, a feeling of popping or tearing, pain at the affected area, and bruising. Typically, such injuries can be treated with the RICE treatment (Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation). However, if pain and swelling continue beyond 48 hours, you'll need to have your injury checked by a doctor.

If after examination, the doctor says that the injury is moderate, this means there's a partial tearing of the ligaments. You'll likely be fitted with a cast or splint to allow the joint to heal and prevent continued irritation. On the other hand, if the doctor says the injury is severe, that means a ligament or muscle has been completely torn. If such is the case, medical or surgical care will be required.

After your treatment, your doctor may require you to start graded strengthening exercises for your wrist, so don't be surprised if he refers you to a physical therapist. This is simply meant to help you regain full use of your wrist and prevent further injury.