What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis Elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is an inflammatory condition involving the muscle group which attaches to the bony knob on the outside of your elbow. Depending on the stage of the injury it can be classified as a tendinitis, involving small micro-tears and inflammation in the tendon, or a tendinosis if the injury becomes chronic, which involves degenerative changes in the tendon.

What Causes tennis Elbow?

This type of condition usually develops over time from repetitive aggravating motions at the wrist which require a tight grip or hold on an object. It commonly affects people who:

  • play racquet sports,
  • weight lifting,
  • knitting,
  • raking,

or those who’s job involved a lot of repetitive stress such as:

  • carpentry,
  • assembly line work,
  • or computer work.

Common symptoms of tennis elbow

  • pain or tenderness around the outside of the elbow,
  • the pain may radiate down the forearm,
  • weakness in the muscle group which pulls the wrist back,
  • aggravated by hand activities such as gripping to lift an object, making a fist, or opening a door.

Golfers Elbow, or medial epicondylitis, is a very similar condition as Tennis Elbow however involving the muscle group attaching to the inside of your elbow. Pain or tenderness would be found on the inside of the elbow and may radiate down the forearm and wrist, and you may find weakness with activities requiring flexion of the wrist.

Aggravating activities are similar to those of Tennis Elbow, such as gripping an object to lift, shaking hands, or turning a door knob. Treatment protocols would follow that of tennis elbow.

Treatment

Treatment for a tendinitis starts with managing the active inflammation. You will know if there is an active inflammation if the area is warm to the touch compared to the surrounding tissue, and may have some redness and appear swollen or puffy. You need to remove the aggravating activity as much as possible at first and ice the elbow to help to reduce pain and limit the amount of inflammation building in the area.

We can help you guide the swelling out of the area using hands on treatment, as well as giving you advice for using compression and elevated activities at home to help prevent degeneration of the tissues. We will help decrease tension in the surrounding muscles to help take stress off the injured tendon, using both hands on treatment and showing you flexibility exercises you can do at home.

Once it is appropriate we will show you strengthening exercises to help make the muscle/tendon stronger to help prevent re-occurrence of the condition once you go back to your previous activities. We can help you decide when it is safe to return to full activity and give you other tips and tricks to help prevent these conditions from coming back!

If you think you may be suffering with tennis elbow or golfer elbow, contact us today to book an appointment.

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