What is tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow is the most common form of elbow pain that we see. Pain is usually felt towards the outside of the elbow where the muscles and tendons which extend your wrist attach. Tennis elbow is also known as an elbow extensor tendinopathy or lateral epicondylalgia.
What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?
Pain on the outside of the elbow is the most common symptom of tennis elbow. Occasionally this pain can radiate down the forearm towards the wrist. This can be aggravated with movements such as gripping or lifting, and particularly with repetitive movements. The pain can start gradually without incident, may appear to come on suddenly, may come and go or can progressively worsen.
How does this occur?
Tennis elbow is an overuse injury that occurs over time if more load is placed on the muscles and tendons than they can cope with. Increased load may be due to an increase in activity such as starting renovations at home or a new exercise, or poor technique with repetitive movements such as typing or when gripping a tennis racquet. Additionally if the muscles are lacking strength from not using them consistently, they won’t be able to cope with a lot of load and are more likely to be injured.
How do we manage this?
The best way to treat tennis elbow is to manage the amount of load going through the elbow. We do this by identifying activities that may be aggravating the issue and modifying them by changing techniques to take stress off the elbow or by avoiding or decreasing the activity. It is also important to then strengthen the muscles and tendons so that they can cope with more load in the future, without causing injury.
We know strengthening programs take around 12 weeks of consistent and monitored exercise and that they are also extremely effective at reducing pain and improving function.
Hands on treatment to the joints, muscles and nerves around your elbow and even your neck and back can give significant symptom relief. Dry needling, shockwave therapy, taping and icing may also be used to help manage tennis elbow.
It is always easiest to treat overuse injuries such as tennis elbow early on.
If you think you may have tennis elbow call 8265 5859 or click https://www.backinmotion.com.au/valley-view/make-a-booking to book in for a Free Initial Assessment with one of our physiotherapists.
Author Kent Jordan, Back In Motion Valley View