Epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow, is inflammation of the epicondyle of the humerus and surrounding tissues. The tendons involved are responsible for anchoring the muscles that extend or lift the wrist and hand. Lack of flexibility and/or strength in these muscles puts added stress on the attachment to the epicondyle and causes inflammation. Tennis elbow is seen primarily in patients between the ages of 30-50, but can occur in any age group. Many affected individuals are involved in work or recreational activities that require repetitive and vigorous use of the forearm muscles. There is usually no specific traumatic injury that triggers symptoms.
Sprains and strains are both minor injuries occurring at joints where ligaments connect bone to bone and tendons connect bone to muscles. A sprain is an injury to ligaments, the thick, tough, fibrous tissue that connects bones. Ligaments can be sprained by being stretched too far from their normal position under conditions such as excessive exercise, heavy lifting, repetitive motion or minor impacts. A strain is an injury to muscles or tendons. When muscles contract they pull on tendons, which in turn are connected to bone. A strain may result if the muscle is stretched too far, or if it is stretched while contracting. Strains most often occur when a joint is pulled, twisted or jerked suddenly. These soft-tissue injuries exhibit symptoms of redness, swelling, surface bruising, reduced mobility and a dull, throbbing ache or sharp, cramping pain.