ZocdocAnswersIs playing tennis too often causing my elbow problems?

Question

Is playing tennis too often causing my elbow problems?

I am a 38 year old male and I play tennis six times a week. My elbow now hurts in the evenings. Is tennis the cause?

Answer

I am sorry to hear that you have been dealing with a sore elbow. Let me first start out by telling you that I am happy to give you some information about tendonitis and "tennis elbow", and my best guess as to what might be going on, however this is by no means a substitution for a thorough history and exam that you would be able to get by visiting your physician. Without being able to ask you more questions or examine your elbow, the short answer from what you have told me so far is "yes" playing tennis so frequently could potentially cause your elbow to hurt. My hat is off to you that you are able to find time 6 days a week to exercise which has tremendous benefit for your overall health. It is possible to get an overuse tendonitis. There are two main muscle groups in your forearm; pronators and supinators. If you open up your hands to look at them parallel to the ground, the muscle groups that turn your palms so that they face the ground are the pronators. The muscle group that turns your wrist so that your palm is facing up are the supinators (as if you were going to hold a bowl of "soup"). The supinators attach you some thing on the outside of your elbow called your lateral condyle. In tennis players this area can get inflamed from overuse (particularly if you use a one handed back-hand...because this stroke isolates out this muscle group). Unfortunately the best fix is to rest it for a while to let the swelling go down and let it heal. However I am guessing that this may not be a good option for you, so you may try icing your elbow after playing and at night (20min on, 20 min off), and taking some ibuprofen to decrease the inflammation. However, like I mentioned at the beginning, if this problem persists, I would definitely get your elbow checked out to make sure that this is what is actually going on. Best of luck.

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