Tennis Elbow is localized pain/tenderness over the tissues around and below the bony prominence on the outside of the elbow, which is the origin of the Extensor tendon that is responsible for the extension/backward movement of the wrist.
It can occur in tennis players as well as people who use their arms repeatedly for grasping and squeezing movements that may overwork these muscles.
CAUSE OF TENNIS ELBOW
Causes and contributing factors vary, but in general, they are related to repetitive injury as a result of one of more of the following:
- Poor sports technique (such as a tennis backhand stroke)
- Wrong grip size of racquet for racquet games
- Occupational tasks involving repetitive movements of the wrist and hands
- Injury to the elbow or minor tears of the tendon
SYMPTOMS OF TENNIS ELBOW
Patients with tennis elbow syndrome experience pain on the outside of the elbow that is worsened by grasping objects and extending the wrist backwards.
The pain associated with tennis elbow usually has a gradual onset, but it may also come on suddenly.
The most common symptoms of tennis elbow are:
- Pain over outside of the elbow
- Pain when lifting/grasping objects e.g. lifting a cup of coffee, opening jar lids, weight training
- Pain radiating down the forearm
- Pain increases on bending wrist backwards against resistance
- Wrist may feel weak at times
TREATMENT OF TENNIS ELBOW
Main aim is to reduce inflammation and pain and to stretch and strengthen the wrist and extensor muscles
Your doctor may prescribe some anti-inflammatories and pain-killers
Your physiotherapist may try various techniques to reduce the inflammation and pain. This may include:
- Interferential Therapy: Electrical current that stimulates the peripheral sensory and muscle nerve fibers to reduce pain and inflammation
- Ultrasound: This decreases tissue inflammation, promotes healing and increases blood circulation to the area.
- Ice Therapy: To aid in reducing pain and inflammation
- Laser: This involves the application of low power light to areas of the body in order to stimulate healing as it penetrates deeper into the underlying tissue.
- Frictional Massage: This type of massage helps to break up scar tissue and adhesions.
- Exercise Therapy: Includes muscle stretches to maintain the length of the muscles and strength.
- Ergonomics Tips and Advice on Activity Modification: Your Physiotherapist can advise you on how to improve your posture, or improve your technique at sports and other activities to help prevent further injuries.
- Elbow Guard or Tape: This helps to support the tendon and reduce further strain on it.
- Applying ice packs
- Regular stretching as advised by the Physiotherapist
- Resting the arm or reducing repetitive movements
- Proper positioning of hand when working with the computer keyboard or mouse.
- Bracing or taping the elbow during activities