Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow is a common conditions that affects many people not just tennis players, in fact I can count on one hand the number of tennis players I have seen with pain in the elbow. It’s correct name is “Lateral Epicondylagia” or “Wrist extensor tendinopathy”… Tennis elbow is much easier.

What is it?

It is a condition that affects the tendons and muscles of the outside of the elbow – the wrist extensor muscle group. It is diagnosed through a through clinical examination.

It is usually caused by their trauma or overuse. Generally the overuse injuries will last for longer. The tendons of the wrist extensor a become aggravated by over working, this can cause micro-trauma to the tendon, unfortunately if we continue to over use the tendon it doesn’t resolve and hence remains painful.

Anatomy:

The wrist extensor a themselves originate from just above the elbow joint, and run down the outside of the elbow and the forearm to the back of hand and fingers. They help grip and to lift the wrist.

The most common site for tennis elbow are either where the tendon inserts into the bone.

Tennis elbow is common in gym goers due to the repetitive gripping nature involved in gripping Dumbbells and barbells. It can often be over looked and ignored for too long and then becomes painful as a result. Jobs that involve repetitive gripping, wrist use, carrying etc can all lead to the condition (eg carpentry, sewing)

Treatment:

You should reduce or modify the load on the elbow, eg avoid training biceps, use the other hand to carry things etc. Avoiding locking out and the end of a bench press can help too. It’s not just in the gym where the elbow becomes aggravated, simple things like turning a door handle, lifting shopping etc can become problematic.

A nice simple trick is only lift things with the palm up, this can considerably reduce the overload to the outside of the elbow and improve the pain. A tennis elbow brace can also help.

Physiotherapy assessment and treatment has been found to be beneficial in reduced pain and improving the function of those with tennis elbow.

Treatment should consistent of:

Tendon loading/strengthening

Soft tissue release

Acupuncture - particularly ‘pecking’ of the tendon- involves rapidly moving the needle in and out of the tendon itself to promote healing

Shockwave therapy

Occasionally a joint manipulation is needed

For specific information please contact LRS Physiotherapy.