Tennis Elbow vs Carpal Tunnel: Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Do you remember that day? You were playing a racket with your kids on a sweet holiday morning. After playing, sometimes, you feel a heart in your wrist. You thought the pain would be relieved after a while. You are still struggling with that wrist pain.

If so, then you are experiencing carpal tunnel or tennis elbow. The symptoms of carpal tunnel and tennis elbow are both the most common. So, it is necessary to identify and take proper medication. But suppose you still have to play with your pickleball elbow. In that case, we suggest using paddles made for tennis elbow, like- Tempest Wave Pro from Paddletek.

Tennis Elbow Vs Carpal Tunnel – (Identification & Prevention)

Nevertheless, want to know the difference between carpal tunnel and tennis elbow? What are the identifications and medications of these syndromes? This article, Tennis Elbow Vs Carpal Tunnel, will help you to understand all your queries about these two arm injuries.

What is Tennis Elbow?

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is an injury caused for overusing of wrist and forearm muscles. It is an unfortunate situation. It occurs when you put too much pressure on the extensor tendons of your elbow. Whenever you do repetitive hand activities, it puts immense pressure on your elbow tendons. As a result, it causes tennis elbow.

By the name tennis elbow, you can easily guess that the primary sufferers are tennis players. Primarily you are right. Players of racquet sports, namely tennis, pickleball, badminton, table tennis, and squash, are the significant sufferers of tennis elbow. But some professional people who do a job that requires repetitive strenuous activities of arms are also the victim of tennis elbow.

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Tennis elbow pain begins when you overuse your wrist and forearm muscles. Overused muscle puts too much tension on your tendons. And then the tennis elbow arises. The pain starts from the outer elbow. It begins from where tendons are attached to the bony bump. Gradually the pain increases, and it causes your hand, shoulder, and neck ache.

Main Causes of Tennis Elbow

Those who do repetitive hand and wrist tasks and overuse their hand muscles are prone to tennis elbow. Your whole hand starts to ache in tennis elbow, not only the wrist and arm. Tennis elbow affects your shoulder and neck too. In effect, your entire upper extremity begins to hurt. The main causes of tennis elbow are:

Overusing of Forearm Muscles

Overusing muscles is the first and foremost cause of tennis elbow. Using your hand muscles too much creates pressure on your elbow tendons. Whenever your elbow tendons get affected, tennis elbow occurs.

Repetitive Hand Activities

If you do repetitive hand activities like tightly holding or gripping something, your elbow and wrist get affected. It is also the primary reason for getting tennis elbow.

Tennis Elbow Symptoms

The symptoms of tennis elbow slowly come to light. Tennis elbow causes severe pain in your outer elbow. If you ignore the pain, it may spread to your whole hand and after your entire upper edge. The common symptoms are:

  • You will feel pain on your outer elbow where the series of tendons are attached to the bony bump.
  • Your hand becomes stiff and aches too.
  • It becomes challenging to twist your forearm and open a jar.
  • Your elbow joints swell up, causing joint pain.

Tennis Elbow Medication

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Medication heals our illness and eases pain. Tennis elbow takes between 6 to 12 months to recover fully. In some cases, it takes 2 years to recover. So, you must begin the medications as soon as you realize you have a tennis elbow.

  • The first step in treating tennis elbow is to take a rest. You must stop putting too much pressure on your wrist and elbow.
  • Using ice can help to ease the pain. Putting an ice bag on your hand for 15 minutes three or four times a day will minimize the pain and swollen hand.
  • You can do some hand and wrist exercises. It will increase the blood flow to your hand.
  • You can have extracorporeal shock wave physical therapy. The waves will break your infected cells and make the blood flow better.
  • You can wear forearm braces or splints. It will keep your hand steady.
  • Some Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) help to reduce tennis elbow. According to the doctor, you may have the drugs like cortisone injections.
  • The most popular treatment today is removing the diseased tissue from the tendon that joins muscle to bone to release the tension and the re-attachment of the tendon.

What Is a Carpal Tunnel?

What is Carpal Tunnel

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, mostly known as CTS, is a neurological disorder. It crops up when the median nerve gets pressed and squeezed. Your hand and wrist will feel weak and numb. Also, your fingers will become puffed and bootless. When you get up, you might sense that you need to shake your wrist or hand.

The median nerve, one of five major nerve branches of the brachial plexus, runs between your forearm and the palm of your hand. It assists the fingers to bend and the tendons to go through the carpal tunnel. The carpal tunnel is an inadequate and inflexible passageway for the ligaments and bones at the bottom of your wrist. The median nerve controls the thumb, index, middle finger, and part of the ring finger.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, or CTS, is the most common entrapment neuropathy. It refers to one of the peripheral nerves of the body being pressed or squeezed. The thumb, index, and middle finger are the victims of CTS. Sometimes you may feel like you are having an electric shock on those fingers caused by carpal tunnel syndrome.

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Main Causes of Carpal Tunnel

Carpal tunnel syndrome occurs when the carpal tunnel of your wrist is slender. The tunnel pushes down median nerves, which don’t let go of the sensations to the fingers. There are some main causes of carpal tunnel:

Congenital Traits

Congenital traits are the foremost factor we could talk about. In some people, the carpal tunnel may be genetically compact. There may be some anatomic variances that make the tunnel space tiny. It goes through heredity.

Positions of Hand and Wrist

Doing activities requiring maximum flexion of your hand and wrist for a long time causes CTS.

Using Hand in Repetitive Tasks

By doing repetitive tasks using your hands, it irritates your tendons. As a result, the tendons swell and cause CTS.

Health Status

Diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, and thyroid gland imbalance may contract blood vessels, create pressure on the nerve and bring about CTS.

During Pregnancy

In pregnancy, huge changes in hormones take place. So, the nerves get squeezed and give rise to CTS.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Symptoms

Women and older people are prone to carpal tunnel syndrome. Commonly, CTS starts gradually without an injury. As the conditions worsen, the symptoms occur more often and cause a long pain period for you.

Most of the time, the symptoms frequently occur at night. Since many people sleep with their hands bent, the nerves get squeezed, increasing carpal tunnel syndrome’s tendency. In the daytime, while doing repetitive tasks for an extended period, bending your wrist causes carpal tunnel syndrome.

The other signs of carpal tunnel syndrome are:

  • Generally, the lack of sensation to your thumb, index, middle finger, and part of the ring finger.
  • Twittering in the fingers that move from the forearm to the shoulder.
  • Sometimes feel like having an electric shock to the fingers.
  • Flabbiness in the hands makes it hard to do some daily tasks.
  • Due to weakness and numbness, the capability of holding something in your hand decreases.
  • Finger pain. For CTS, your fingers (thumb, index, middle finger, and ring finger) start to ache. The pain may move to your forearm and also to your shoulder.

Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Medication

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Though carpal tunnel syndrome worsens slowly, you should treat it very early. For the medication of carpal tunnel syndrome, you have several treatment options; you can go through some non-surgical or surgical treatments.

Generally, Non-surgical methods treat your carpal tunnel without irritating your daily tasks. On the other hand, Surgical methods assist in curing more complicated cases.

Non-surgical Treatment

  • Using a splint or brace on your hand at night. Splints or braces keep your hand away from bending. Braces and splints protect your hands while sleeping.
  • Doing tasks with different hand positions. You should change the position of your hand and wrist while doing work, which takes a lot of time. Changing postures gives you relief from your bilateral carpal tunnel syndrome.
  • Doing drifting exercises of nerves. Some drifting exercises allow your median nerve to move freely between the carpal tunnel. So, It eases the pain.
  • Taking Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) is a common non-surgical treatment. In some cases, you may be treated with painkillers and steroid injections to subside carpal tunnel pain or swelling.

Surgical Treatment

  • The first and foremost effective treatment is Open carpal tunnel release surgery. In this surgery, doctors make an incision to see through your hand and wrist. They expand the carpal tunnel ligament and lessen the median nerve compression. After repairing the nerve damage through surgery, the flexibility of your wrist and hand will return to normal.
  • The second one is Endoscopic carpal tunnel release.
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Carpal Tunnel Syndrome Vs Tennis Elbow- What is the Difference?

Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by pressing your median nerve. You feel weakness or numbness in your fingers, and sometimes your fingers begin to hurt. On the other hand, tennis elbow is caused by putting too much tension on your elbow tendons. You will experience hand, shoulder, and neck pain in tennis elbow.

Women and older adults are prone to carpal tunnel. Someone with diabetes and metabolic disorders is also at high risk of carpal tunnel. Racquet sports players like tennis, pickleball, badminton, and squash are at increased risk of tennis elbow. Gardeners, carpenters, dentists, and musicians also get tennis elbow often.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can carpal tunnel cause pain to your elbow?

How do I check if I have carpal tunnel?

Does a carpal tunnel brace help tennis elbow?

What triggers carpal tunnel syndrome?

How long does a tennis elbow take to heal properly?

Final Words

Carpal tunnel and tennis elbow are similar; they cause wrist or hand aches. So it isn’t very easy to identify the syndrome. Despite the similarity, they have many dissimilar symptoms so that you can get to know the source of your pain.

When you are facing hand or wrist pain for a long time, Carpal Tunnel vs Tennis Elbow helps you discover your syndrome. Besides, you know the remedies for your syndrome.

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