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Tennis Elbow

The skeletal system is the framework for the body. It gives the body shape, protects internal organs, and allows movement. Movement is accomplished by an interaction of the bones with muscles, ligaments, and tendons. However, sudden injuries or repeated physical stress can damage the tendons that attach muscles to the bones. For example, one common injury affects a tendon that anchors the extensor carpi radialis muscles of the lower arm to the outside bump, or epicondyle, of the elbow. Because this muscle is used to pull the hand backwards, as in a backhanded tennis swing, the injury is often called “tennis elbow.” The repetitive movements required during tennis, as well as with painting and many other tasks, put stress on this tendon and causes small tears. Inflammation, or tendonitis, can then develop, and will be accompanied by soreness or pain on the outside of the upper arm near the elbow. Treatment of tennis elbow often involves rest and immobilization of the arm. A brace may also be beneficial primarily because it prohibits use of the elbow.