Hat Trick Sports

Tagged: sports medicine

Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow) Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Tennis Elbow can be a Painful condition

Lateral Epicondylitis or Tennis Elbow is an overuse injury of the elbow.

Lateral epicondylitis is a painful condition that affects the tendons that attach to the bone on the lateral (outside) aspect of the elbow. Tendons are what attach muscles to bone.  When these tendons get irritated from repetitive wrist and arm use, they often become inflamed resulting in weakness and pain.  The most common muscle involved in lateral epicondylitis is the extensor carpi radialis brevis, which is responsible for wrist extension.  However, any forearm muscle that produces wrist extension or supination (turning the palm up) can be involved in lateral epicondylitis.  This condition is commonly referred to as “tennis elbow” because it is often seen in tennis players due to the excessive amount of wrist extension involved in backhand motions.

Although this condition is most commonly referred to as tennis elbow, lateral epicondylitis has many different causes. It is common in any sport that involves repetitively gripping an object, such as baseball, softball, racquetball, golf, javelin throwing, and fencing. It is also very common to develop this condition from non-athletic activities, such as meat-cutting, plumbing, painting, driving screws, and excessive computer mouse use.  Though this injury is traditionally seen from repetitive activities and overuse, it is also possible to develop lateral epicondylitis after a direct blow to the outside of the elbow, causing swelling and eventual breakdown of the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle.

The most common symptom associated with lateral epicondylitis is pain. The pain is usually isolated to the outside of the elbow, but may radiate into the forearm and wrist.  Due to this pain, it may be difficult for people to shake hands, turn a doorknob, or hold and lift everyday objects in their grasp. Initially, the treatment for lateral epicondylitis is activity modification. Understanding what motion is causing that pain, and decreasing that repetitive motion or learning the proper technique to the movement are keys.  Rest, anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy are also recommended to help alleviate pain.

Tennis Elbow Brace

The GOSTRAP Tennis Elbow Strap can be an effective treatment for lateral epicondylitis.

As part of a comprehensive treatment, a brace is also often recommended to help reduce pain.  The most effective type of brace is a counterforce brace.  Unlike the traditional one strap tennis elbow brace, a counterforce brace, such as the Comffit GOSTRAP Tennis Elbow Support, uses straps above and below the elbow to help carry the load placed on the elbow while simultaneously reducing the tension placed on that area. This brace is effective because it provides a counterforce in the opposite direction of the wrist extensors (muscles causing pain).  In addition because of its two strap design, the straps do not have to be applied very tight to provide support, so it is comfortable to wear all day and does not restrict elbow motion.  When dealing with lateral epicondylitis, a Comffit GOSTRAP Tennis Elbow Support is an affordable and effective addition to a comprehensive treatment and therapy plan.

Types of Knee Braces: A Guide to Finding the Right Knee Brace

knee-brace

Knee Bracing can be used for prevention, post-injury, or rehabilitation.

Knee pain is a very common ailment affecting a wide range of people.  A variety of knee braces from many well-known manufacturers such as DonJoy, Breg, New Options, McDavid, and Cho-Pat are available to help alleviate the pain associated with different knee injuries.  Patellar, or kneecap pain associated with poor tracking, subluxation, dislocation, or tendonitis can be treated with sleeve type braces or Cho-Pat Straps, while ligamentous knee injuries to the ACL, PCL, MCL, LCL or cartilaginous injuries to the meniscus can be treated with a variety of hinged braces.  With the help of a medical professional, finding the right brace for a specific injury can be easy.

Knee sleeves and knee straps are the most commonly used types of knee braces used for athletes and the physically active person.  Neoprene knee sleeves are used to give the knee and patella additional support and stability. They are elastic, easy to apply, and provide compression and heat to the knee.  They are great for athletes or patients with arthritis, patellofemoral pain, or chronic inflammation or swelling.  Sleeves with a supportive doughnut around the patella, such as the DonJoy Deluxe Elastic Knee Sleeve or the DonJoy Lateral J Support Knee Sleeve are used to help with patellofemoral pain, patella subluxation, or lateral patella tracking.  Knee straps, such as the Cho-Pat Knee Strap are used for athletes, running, or patients suffering from patellar tendonitis or runner’s knee.

Hinged knee braces are most commonly used for athletes or patients who are suffering from injuries to the ligaments of the knee.  Whether the injury to the ligaments is mild or requires surgical intervention, a hinged knee brace will provide support and stability to the knee during the rehabilitation process and eventual progression back into activity. There are a wide variety of hinged braces specifically designed for the different ligament injuries that can occur in the knee, and provide a varying degree of support to correspond with the severity of the injury.  Design of the braces also varies for patient comfort and use, with the DonJoy Playmaker Hinged Knee Brace in the knee sleeve style or the DonJoy Playmaker Wraparound Hinged Knee Brace in a style that Velcro’s around the knee instead of having to pull the brace on, while still providing similar knee support.  Custom braces are also available to fit specific injury needs. When choosing a knee brace it is important that all aspects of the injury are properly supported, and sometimes a custom brace is necessary.  Custom bracing is usually expensive and made to fit your specific leg.  For proper sizing of a custom brace, measurements are taken by a doctor or trained professional, and the brace is then made to your specific body specifications.

It is important to talk to a medical professional before deciding on a brace.  They can help guide you to the right type of brace for a specific injury and also help with the correct sizing.  If the sizing is incorrect, the brace may not be effective or support the knee and its structures properly.  Always make sure to wear the knee brace during the times and activities it is prescribed by the medical professional.  When they are used safely and correctly, knee braces are very effective tools at reducing knee pain and adding additional support.  For more information on the different types of knee braces, please visit http://www.hat-trick-sports.com/shop/category/knee-brace-support.

Tips to Avoid Joint and Hip Injuries

The body’s joints take quite a beating over the course of a person’s life, causing wear-and-tear damage that can lead to osteoarthritis and other chronic joint conditions. Weight-bearing joints, like hips and knees, are among the most vulnerable to this type of damage. While a certain amount of gradual wear on your joints is unavoidable, excessive wear can be prevented by taking good care of your body. Avoiding joint and hip injuries is an important step toward that goal and can help prevent disabling joint problems later in life, reducing your risk of needing surgery, such as a hip replacement.

 

Hip Joint

Painful Hip Joints Can Often Be Avoided

Exercise

Staying active is essential to maintaining joint health and flexibility. Exercise also helps maintain bone strength, which is very important in avoiding hip injury and deterioration that can lead to the necessity of hip replacement. The stress placed on the bones by exercise stimulates bone cell growth, slowing the pace of natural bone loss that occurs with aging.

Low-impact exercise is best, like walking, bicycling, swimming or aerobics, since exercise that pounds and jars the joints increases the risk of both immediate injury and the gradual damage that leads to overuse injuries and chronic joint problems. Resistance exercise, such as light weight-lifting, helps in the maintenance of joints and bones as well, and should be done at least twice weekly.

Be sure to warm up and stretch before exercise to reduce the chance of joint injuries, and avoid exercising on hard surfaces, such as asphalt, or rough, uneven terrain. Consulting a fitness instructor is the best way to devise an exercise plan that promotes optimal hip and joint health.

Weight Management

Being overweight is one of the biggest risk factors for joint and hip injury. Extra weight places undue stress on weight-bearing joints, increasing the risk of osteoarthritis and overuse injuries such as tendinitis and bursitis. Even losing a little weight can help, since each pound you lose takes about four pounds of pressure off of weight-bearing joints.

Nutrition

Eating well helps ensure that the body has a plentiful supply of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients to repair and maintain the joints. Among the nutrients essential to joint health are vitamins A and C, which aid in collagen production, and omega-3 fatty acids, which reduce inflammation. Getting plenty of minerals, especially calcium and phosphorus, is essential to maintaining bone strength, and balanced nutrition keeps muscles healthy and strong, providing vital support and protection to the joints.

Why Joint Health Matters

Joint injury and deterioration is a leading cause of disability in adults, particularly those older than age 65. While modern surgical procedures and prosthetic devices have provided relief to many, they are not without risk.

Defective hip replacement implants have caused high rates of complications in recent years. Among the most serious of these is metallosis, a condition that occurs when the components of metal-on-metal hip implants shed debris into surrounding tissues, causing severe pain and inflammation. Implant debris can also lead to osteolysis, which is bone loss around the implant that can cause it to loosen or fail. Revision surgeries have been necessary in many cases to repair the damage, and these issues have led to the recall of several products and thousands of hip replacement lawsuits.

Elizabeth Carrollton writes about defective medical devices and dangerous drugs for Drugwatch.com and is a guest article contributor to the Hat Trick Sports resource and sports performance pages.

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