Rehabilitation Options For Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow occurs when the tendons that attach the muscles in your forearm to the elbow joint become inflamed or damaged. Tennis elbow symptoms include pain and swelling in the area, as well as an inability to do specific tasks because of pain or reduced movement. Unfortunately, tennis elbow will not get better on its own. You will need to rehabilitate the area in order to get your elbow back to normal. Rehabilitation and treatment options include the following:

1. Discontinuance of the sport/job/hobby that caused the injury.

This is probably the most important aspect of rehabilitating tennis elbow. The injury to your elbow is almost always caused by repeated, strong motions that eventually over-work the muscles and tendons that are close to your elbow. If you continue to use your arm, you will only make the problem worse. Common repeated-motion activities that lead to tennis elbow include

  • painting walls with a roller
  • tennis (hence the name of the condition)
  • weight lifting
  • chopping meat and other food
  • opening heavy doors
  • rowing

2. Reducing pain and inflammation.

Initial rehabilitation will mostly focus on helping the tendons that are injured to “calm down”. Usually, this means

  • treating the area with a cold compress. Especially if elbow over-use is caused by your employment, you will probably need to apply cold compresses daily until you can find alternative ways to get your work done– ways that don’t affect your injury. 
  • using electrical stimulation or ultrasound to help relax the area. Sometimes, the tendons can become stiff, or the muscles attached to them can tighten to an extreme. Stimulating these areas with ultrasound waves and electrical impulses will help them to relax, taking some of the pressure off the joint.
  • bracing the area. Your orthopedist may even design a special brace for the elbow to help provide support to strained muscles and ligaments. Preventing further strain is a big part of reducing overall pain. 
  • steroid shots. If the pain is very bad, your orthopedic specialist will probably recommend a steroid shot to the affected muscles and tendons. Steroids help to reduce inflammation, which will decrease your overall level of pain. They work by suppressing your natural genetic inflammatory response to injuries, and are widely used in many aspects of the medical field. 

3. Stretching and exercising the area to make it stronger at it heals.

After the inflammation is under control, you can start doing some mild exercises to restore range of motion in your elbow. The exercises will include

  • stretching. Stretching your forearm will help to take pressure off the tendons, while also improving muscular flexibility. At first, you may not be able to hold the stretches very long, depending on your pain level. But try to increase stretch durations by a few seconds each day in order to get the full benefits of stretch treatment. 
  • strengthening. These exercises are not nearly as strenuous as lifting weights, but they do target the muscles in your arm and help to slowly allow more movement through the elbow. Some common exercises include stretching an elastic band open with all five fingers, or resisting pressure as someone pushes down on your forearm. 

4. Gradual returning to previous levels of activity.

After you have completed a course of physical therapy, your doctor will be ready to help you get back into your occupation or sport. You shouldn’t just jump back in all at once– returning full use to your elbow should be a gradual process. At first, do only a light form of the exercise with modified speed/resistance. You can slowly increase both speed and resistance as your strength returns.

If you try to rehabilitate tennis elbow and see very little progress, it’s time to talk to an orthopedic surgeon about surgically repairing the damage. Sometimes, if a tendon is badly torn or has separated from the elbow entirely, surgery is the best course of action for treatment. You can get in touch with an orthopedic surgeon at http://www.towncenterorthopaedics.com. Don’t just live with elbow pain– talk to a medical professional so that you can get your arm back on track.

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Itchy Blisters And Cracking Skin May Signal Dyshidrosis

If you have been diagnosed with dyshidrosis, you already know how itchy and painful the condition can be when the tiny blisters erupt on your hands and feet. This condition is a type of eczema that can recur throughout your lifetime. The key to living comfortable with this condition is to learn to manage the symptoms when they erupt and seek medical advice when your attempts fail. 

What is Dyshidrosis?

Dyshidrosis is sometimes called dyshidrotic dermatitis or dyshidrotic eczema. This skin condition presents with tiny, itchy blisters on the hands and feet. It is most common on the outside of the fingers and on the palm of the hand or sole of the feet, but can occur in other locations. Itching may begin before the blisters erupt, but often intensifies as the blisters form. You may be able to see tiny blisters beneath the skin before they erupt. Scratching often brings the blisters to the surface and causes them to break and ooze.The skin then thickens, forming scales that later flake away, revealing red, inflamed skin beneath. Your skin may develop painful cracks.The cycle may repeat for weeks or months and then suddenly disappear and return months or even years later.

What Causes Dyshidrosis?

The cause of dyshidrosis is unknown but may be related to atopic dermatitis, explains the Mayo Clinic. Like other forms of dermatitis, the symptoms may worsen when you are under stress, contact skin irritants (like soaps and cleaners) or ingest foods you are allergic to. People with asthma or allergies may be more prone to dyshidrosis, as the symptoms are often seasonal for those who suffer from nasal allergies. 

Medical Treatments for Dyshidrosis

While there is no cure for dyshidrosis, there are several common medical treatments.

  • Corticosteroids: Corticosteroid creams or lotions may be applied to the skin to treat the blisters. While you can buy this over-the-counter, your dermatologist can prescribe a stronger version if necessary. In some cases, oral corticosteroids, such as Prednisone, may be used.
  • Immune-suppressing ointments: In people who cannot use corticosteroids, immune-suppressing ointments liketacrolimus or pimecrolimus may be used, says the Mayo Clinic.
  • Phototherapy: Special light therapy with ultraviolet light combined with medications is currently being used to treat dyshidrosis that is resistant to other forms of treatment.

What Else Can I Do?

While medical treatments can help clear up your symptoms, you need to do your part too. Follow these recommendations to ease the discomfort and prevent symptoms from returning.

  • Wear protective gloves when washing dishes or cleaning. Keeping the hands dry and avoiding exposure to chemicals is one of the most important steps you can take.
  • Use hand cream or lotion that is free of fragrance and additives. Many choose pure petroleum jelly or other natural products to soothe the skin.
  • Avoid hot baths or showers and opt for lukewarm instead. 
  • Wear gloves when you go outside in the winter. Cold air and wind damages skin quickly and may compound your existing condition.
  • Apply over-the-counter creams with coal tar in them. These are typically labeled for eczema or dermatitis and may speed the healing of your inflamed skin.
  • Take an antihistamine before going to bed, especially if you tend to scratch your hands or feet in your sleep. It will quell the itch and give your hands or feet time to heal.
  • Wear socks or slippers and avoid going barefoot if you develop blisters on your feet. 
  • Keep a notebook detailing when your symptoms are active. Note your activities, new foods or changes in shampoos, soaps and cleaning supplies. This may help you pinpoint the triggers for your symptoms.

While dyshidrosis cannot be cured, it can be managed. Talk to the dermatologist at a clinic like Desert Dermatology about your concerns to determine the right treatment options for you.

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Five Golden Rules Of Co-Parenting Every Divorced Parent Should Follow

If you’re recently divorced and will share parental duties with your ex-spouse, you may find yourself faced with new challenges in child-rearing. For the child’s best interest, set aside negative feelings towards your ex. In addition, it’s important to establish a mutually agreeable schedule with your former spouse and communicate openly.

Here are five golden rules to follow for successful co-parenting:

1. Don’t Shift Negative Feelings or Resentment for Your Ex Onto Your Child

Belittling your ex-partner in front of your child or speaking negatively about your ex is counterproductive. In many cases, this behavior is self-destructive. How so? By propelling your child into the conflict, you may be forcing him or her to choose sides. Your child could end up resenting you later.

This is why it’s vitally important for both parents to air personal grievances in private. Arguments and ill feelings will only add to the stress your child may already be experiencing after the transition of adjusting to a divorce.

2. Establish a Mutually Agreeable Co-Parenting Timetable

It’s possible that both you and your ex will have conflicting schedules. Between work and other obligations, what works for one parent might not always be optimal for the other. Your child’s best interests should be a top priority, therefore you and your ex need to work out a compromise, if necessary. If this means rearranging schedules, so be it.

Parenting dates should be arranged in advance, not on the spur of the moment. A verbal agreement of when each parent spends time with the child may not be adequate. Create a co-parenting schedule with your ex and put it in writing. To help you keep track of the timetable, write down the schedule on a dry erase board or desk calender. This will eliminate the risk of conflicts or misunderstandings over visitations.

3. Be an Informant

Sharing co-parenting duties with your ex means time spent apart from your child on visitation days. Wouldn’t you want to know if your child suddenly took ill or had a minor mishap during a visit with your ex? Offer that same consideration to your former spouse. It’s important for each parent to keep the other informed on a child’s progress and goings-on, from the important milestones to seemingly trivial matters.

4. Establish One Set of Consistent Rules for Both Households

Each household should establish the same set of rules for the child to abide by. Whether it’s an established time for chores, homework, or TV and recreation, a structured timetable will keep your child well-adjusted. If a child is not permitted to drink caffeinated soft drinks at Mom’s house, the same rule should be reinforced when visiting Dad. Both parents should be on the same page when it comes to house rules and boundaries.

5. Make Time for Yourself

Divorced parents are constantly making sacrifices and setting aside time for their children. During this transition, it’s equally important to set aside quality time for yourself. If you don’t allow yourself the time to relax and indulge in the simple pleasures you enjoy, your parenting may suffer. You can’t expect to be a good parent if you’re exhausted or devoid of leisure time.

What is the best way to enjoy your “me” time? Take advantage of your child’s visitation days with your ex. Use this time alone to pamper yourself. Relax in the tub or pool, crank up your favorite music or read a good book. Go out to dinner or to the movies with friends.

By devoting a day (or a few leisurely hours) to unwind and pamper yourself, you will feel refreshed and focused. You may also gain a new perspective on positive co-parenting. 

Co-parenting after a divorce can be difficult, but it is possible. If you need more tips, you may want to contact a parenting therapist or experienced family lawyer. 

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