What is Tennis Elbow?
Do you have a very physical or repetitive job?
Something like general labourer, carpentry, mechanic. Or, computer work, hair dresser, cashier. You may have experienced pain on the outside of your elbow when performing repetitive or prolonged work with your hands and arms. You may especially notice it at the end of your work day or when stopping the activity that bothers it. You may have tennis elbow, so keep reading to find out what to look for and how to deal with it.
Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is considered a repetitive or overuse injury. It can be due to direct trauma occasionally, if the tendon is hit or struck, the swelling and tissue damage can turn into a tendonitis. Treatment is the same for both types of tendonitis. Lateral epicondylitis affects the tendons attached to the bone on the outside of your elbow. These muscle allow you to extend your wrist and fingers backwards. Tennis elbow typically occurs after repetitive activities requiring wrist and elbow movements. Some examples are golf, racquet sports, computer typing, and jobs requiring frequent tool use.
What can cause tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow occurs as a result of using your wrist and finger extensor muscles too much. The overuse leads to inflammation and micro tearing in the tendons that causes pain and weakness when using these muscle groups. Occasionally, direct trauma to these muscles, like getting hit or struck, can result in tennis elbow. Common causes of tennis elbow include activities that require a lot of gripping, or if you do an activity that requires gripping frequently for a short amount of time, think painting your basement for a month, or finishing a big work project on the computer for long hours.
How do I know if I have tennis elbow?
The following signs and symptoms are typical with tennis elbow;
-Pain on the outside of your elbow and down your forearm
-Pain usually starts gradually, not suddenly
-Pain with certain activities like prolonged gripping and use of hands and wrists -Reduced grip strength and trouble carrying or lifting objects
Why is it important to get treatment for tennis elbow?
This type of injury can become chronic easily and quickly. It is sort of a vicious cycle where using the arm and hand creates inflammation and micro tearing, you rest for an hour or a day, and than right when you start using it again the inflammation flares up. It is important to seek treatment right when this problem starts to reduce the amount of swelling and tissue damage. If left untreated, steroid injections and prolonged (weeks to months) rest may be required.
What is the treatment for tennis elbow?
1. Bracing. A tennis elbow brace can help relieve the tension on the tendons
and allow it time to heal. Bracing is indicated to wear whenever performing
movements or activities that increase pain.
2. Strengthening and stretching exercises. It is important to get the right
exercises to help strengthen and stretch these tendons to prevent further
injury and allow healing.
3. Acupuncture. Acupuncture can help reduce swelling and pain as well as
quicken up the healing process.
4. Manual therapy. Hands on therapy can help loosen tight muscles and
joints, as well as reduce pain and inflammation in the area.
5. Ultrasound. Ultrasound in the more acute phases can help reduce swelling.
If you think you may be suffering from tennis elbow, do not wait to see if it gets
better on its own. Physiotherapy can help alleviate your pain and get you back to
doing the things you love faster!
Give us a call today to book an assessment or speak with one of our therapists.