Is 'plumbing elbow' a problem for you?

Tennis elbow, believe it or not, isn't a condition exclusive to those who make a living playing a game of bat and ball.

While the injury is common among those who participate in racquet sport - hence its name - any activity that involves the continual twisting of the wrist can lead to symptoms developing. 

As a result, plumbers are among a group of professionals who are potentially at risk, largely due to the fact the job often requires using this motion when they have a screwdriver or wrench in hand.

So, what happens when you get tennis elbow? The tendon is the part of the muscle that attaches itself to the bone and this particular ailment affects the area where your forearm is fixed to the outside of your elbow.

The repetitive manner of which you use your muscles when tightening up a nut, for example, can result in small tears developing in your tendon and this can eventually lead to pain and irritation.

Obviously, this is far from ideal if you are required to continue with this motion on almost every job that you begin work on, so knowing how to avoid exacerbating the injury and recover from it quickly can be incredibly useful information.

Firstly, as soon as you notice any discomfort, you should place some ice on the affected area, using a cloth to keep the cold substance from coming into direct contact with your skin. 

Elevating your elbow or wrist can also help to relieve pain and reduce swelling, while self-administering with anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and aspirin can also reduce aggravation to an extent.

To stop your tendons from becoming stiff, you should participate in basic stretching exercises involving your wrist, but only once you feel as though the condition is getting better.

Finally, if you need to continue with grasping or twisting movements while you are still having trouble, then a counterforce brace - a strap worn around your forearm - could help to spread the tension throughout your arm, instead of letting all pressure focus on the tendon.

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