Lateral epicondylitis, which is more often referred to as tennis elbow, is a common and painful condition that affects the tendons around the elbow joint. I treat tennis elbow on a daily basis among professional truck drivers.
Tennis elbow is inflammation within the tendons of the elbow that occurs when the tendons are overworked due to repetitive movements of the wrist and arm.
Professional truck drivers are at a higher risk than the general population. The most common causes of tennis elbow in truck drivers are frequently shifting gears and securing loads using either binders or chains. Both of these tasks place repetitive and frequent stress on the tendons of the elbow.
The signs and symptoms of tennis elbow include pain and weakness in the elbow joint. The pain associated with tennis elbow is usually felt where the tendons of the forearm muscles attach to the bone on the outside of the elbow. As the condition worsens, the pain may reach the forearm and wrist.
It is important to see your doctor if you experience persistent elbow pain that does not subside after a few weeks. Your doctor will be able to diagnose your condition by taking a detailed medical history and performing a physical examination. During the physical exam, your doctor may ask you to move your wrist and elbow in various positions. They may also apply pressure to different parts of your arm to assess the amount of inflammation and pain that is present. If necessary, your doctor will order imaging tests to confirm the diagnosis.
Fortunately, tennis elbow usually resolves on its own. Rest and over-the-counter medications are often enough to cure mild to moderate cases. However, severe cases may require physical therapy or surgery.
Prevention is the best cure. Try to limit the repetitive movement of your elbow as much as possible during your workday. Use both arms if possible, as this will spread out the amount of force between both arms. Also, try to take breaks, as this will allow the muscles and tendons to recover, preventing injury.
Until next time, drive safely.
Dr. Christopher H. Singh runs Trans Canada Chiropractic at the 230 Truck Stop in Woodstock, Ont. He can be reached at
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