tennis elbow

Tennis Elbow

Sunday, December 5, 2021

Tennis elbow is one of the most common repetitive stress injuries but despite its name, it’s actually more common in non-tennis players than those hitting the ball around the court.

Tennis elbow, also called lateral epicondylalgia is caused by repeated extension of the wrist against resistance. This leads to small tears in the tendons attaching to the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow that results in pain and tenderness.

Here, we’re going over the symptoms of tennis elbow and how to care for tennis elbow when it occurs. Let’s get started.

What Causes Tennis Elbow?

The most common causes of tennis elbow are manual repetitive tasks including:

  • Carpentry
  • Sewing
  • Bricklaying
  • Computer work like data entry

Again, you don’t have to be a tennis player to experience what’s known as tennis elbow.

Any activity (including but not limited to tennis) that causes you to repetitively bend at the wrist can lead to forearm tendon tears that can cause pain all the way up to your elbow, AKA tennis elbow.

Tennis Elbow Symptoms

The first sign of tennis elbow would be a pain on the outside of the elbow, either during or after intense or repetitive use of your wrist and forearm. Other things you may experience include:

  • Weakness or pain in your forearm and wrist when you grip objects
  • Pain when you extend your forearm and wrist
  • Pain or tenderness on the outside of your elbow, extending into your forearm and wrist
  • Any pain in your elbow that increases over time

Tennis elbow symptoms range from mild to severe and, keep in mind, you may not present all of these symptoms at once if you have tennis elbow. 

How long does tennis elbow last?

Tennis elbow usually lasts between 6 and 8 weeks, creating mild soreness in your elbow and throughout your forearm. But, in more serious cases, a tennis elbow injury can cause pain for up to 6 months.

However, this recovery time refers to how long the pain lasts while you undergo treatment.

In other words, a tennis elbow injury that goes untreated can continue to recur and the pain can last for 2 years or more. 

This is why it’s absolutely essential to understand what the best tennis elbow treatment for you is. So, below, we’re going over the most common ways to learn how to care for tennis elbow.

Tennis Elbow Treatment

So, what is the best treatment for tennis elbow?

It’s important to seek out the advice of a qualified Physiotherapist in order to ensure effective short and long-term management of tennis elbow.

The first thing your physiotherapist will do is a thorough assessment of the site of the pain to rule out other potential causes of your elbow pain before an individualized treatment plan is designed on your unique tennis elbow symptoms, needs and lifestyle.

Tennis elbow treatment can include one or more of the following:

  • Joint mobilisation
  • Elbow Kinesio taping
  • Strengthening exercises
  • Tennis elbow massage

Joint Mobilisation

Your physiotherapist will work with you on mobilising your elbow joint and neck to reduce stress on the affected areas to prevent a recurrence of your tennis elbow injury.

Since the muscles and tendons in your wrist and forearm move all the way up your arm and into your neck, there are many ways your physiotherapist can handle joint mobilisation based on your unique circumstances.

Elbow Kinesio Taping

Kinesio taping of the elbow is designed to facilitate your body’s regular healing process while stabilizing and supporting joints and muscles. This reduces the risk of aggravating the tennis elbow injury and increasing your pain.

Strengthening Exercises

Exercise can be used to strengthen your muscles and tendons over time, by continuously working them out and increasing the intensity over time.

With the help of a qualified physiotherapist, you may be prescribed suitable tennis elbow exercises that will be adjusted over time to facilitate the speediest recovery.

Exercises to extend your wrist can improve your range of motion and increase the load your tendons can take, which will reduce the future risk of tennis elbow injury.

Here’s an example of an exercise you might perform with your physiotherapist to help prevent tennis elbow:

Place your arm in front of you, keeping your palm down and your elbow straight

Begin by slowly bending your wrist down using your other hand until you can feel a mild stretching feeling but no pain

Hold this stretch for approximately 15 seconds

Tennis Elbow Massage

Massage therapists have a range of techniques they can use to help reduce tension, release soft tissue and realign fibres to reduce pain and inflammation. These techniques can also be used to treat tennis elbow.

But, you may not even need to see a massage therapist. Most physiotherapists offer remedial tennis elbow massage services to pinpoint the affected area and provide relief while working with you on other physiotherapy treatments.

However, a tennis elbow massage should always be performed by a professional and isn’t recommended as self-treatment.

Again, tennis elbow that’s left untreated can recur and last anywhere from 6 months to 2 years which can be very debilitating. Being unable to use your wrist and elbow can often prevent you from working or staying active, both of which are essential.

Of the available treatments for tennis elbow, Physiotherapy is one of the most effective tennis elbow treatments available when compared to other available treatments like steroid injections.

So, if you’re experiencing pain in your elbow and you’re still wondering, what is the best treatment for tennis elbow or you’re simply looking for more advice on tennis elbow treatment through physiotherapy, contact your local Physio Inq clinic today.

Original article: https://www.physioinq.com.au/blog/tennis-elbow

This article was originally written by Jonathan Moody from Physio Inq

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