Healthy Blog

Tennis Elbow

Monday, March 28, 2016

Despite its name, Tennis elbow is not limited to tennis players. In fact, despite the famous tennis players out there, it’s actually seen more commonly in non tennis players than those who hit the court on a regular basis.

The scientific name for Tennis elbow is Lateral epicondylalgia. This mouthful describes a motion injury caused by extending the wrist against exertion. This results in tiny tears to the tendons attaching the forearm muscles to the outside of the elbow causing pain and tenderness.

Tennis elbow is most common in people who perform work with manual repetitive tasks. Examples of things that contribute to Tennis elbow are bricklaying, carpentry, panting, sewing, or even data entry.

Tennis elbow Symptoms

The first thing most people with Tennis elbow notice is a pain on the outside of their elbow, either during or after intensive, repetitive use. Other things you may experience:

  • Pain in your wrist and forearm while gripping objects
  • Pain in your forearm and wrist while extending them
  • Pain or tenderness around your outside elbow into your forearm and wrist
  • Pain that increases overtime

Tennis elbow Treatment

There are a variety of treatments for Tennis elbow that can be accessed through a Physiotherapy for short and long term management.

The first step is a thorough assessment at the site of the pain to rule out other sources of elbow pain that may represent a different injury, and the creation of an individualized Tennis elbow treatment plan based on your symptoms and lifestyle.

Possible treatment options for Tennis elbow include:

Joint Mobilisation

Mobilizing your elbow joint and neck reduces stress and pressure on these areas and can help your Tennis elbow.

Elbow kinesio taping

Taping the area allows rehabilitation and recovery by stimulating the body’s natural healing process and providing stability and support to the affected joints and muscles. This will reduce the risk of making the injury or pain worse.

Exercises to strengthen your tendons and muscle over time

Exercises, with practice will strengthen your muscles and tendons and reduce the risk of damage from Tennis elbow or other injuries. You should increase the intensity of these exercises over time. This is best done with a physiotherapist who can prescribe a suitable exercise plan and alter it over time to guide your recovery.

Wrist extension exercises can help to improve your range of motion as well as to increase the amount of load that your tendons can take before injury results. An example of a wrist extension exercise to prevent Tennis elbow is below:

  1. Lay your arm in front of you, palm down, and keep your elbow straight.
  2. Slowly bend your wrist down with your other hand until you feel a mild stretching sensation but no pain
  3. Hold this position for approximately 15 seconds and then release

Soft tissue massage

Registered massage therapists have a variety of techniques at their disposal to help reduce tension, release soft tissues and realign fibers.

If you fail to treat Tennis elbow, it can recur and last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years. Compared to other treatments like steroid injections, Physiotherapy has been found to be the most effective way to reduce symptoms and improve outcomes.

For a more advice on Tennis elbow Treatment and a free initial assessment call Greater West Physio on 02 9670 3800.