Tennis elbow is an inflammation of the tendons that join the muscles of the forearm to the outside of the elbow. It often occurs due to overusing the forearm muscles and tendons and those around the elbow joint.
Tennis elbow is also known as lateral elbow pain or lateral epicondylitis and is not necessarily related to tennis. However, tennis players often develop the condition because it stems from repetitive muscle use.
Where Does Tennis Elbow Cause Pain?
The pain is focused on the outside of your arm, where your forearm meets your elbow.
It’s related to a muscle and tendons in your forearm. Tendons connect your muscles to your bones. When you repeat certain arm movements, the tendons at the elbow end of a certain muscle – the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle – may get small tears.
The tears may put stress on the rest of your arm, making it painful to lift and grip things. If you don’t get treatment, the pain can last a long time.
Tennis elbow is an overuse and muscle strain injury. The cause is repeated contraction of the forearm muscles that you use to straighten and raise your hand and wrist. The repeated motions and stress to the tissue may result in a series of tiny tears in the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the bony prominence at the outside of your elbow.
Age. While tennis elbow affects people of all ages, it’s most common in adults between the ages of 30 and 50.
Occupation. People who have jobs that involve repetitive motions of the wrist and arm are more likely to develop tennis elbow.
Despite the name, tennis elbow refers to any injury to this tendon caused by overuse. Tennis elbow can stem from daily activities such as:
- using scissors
- cutting tough food
- manual work that involves repetitive turning or lifting of the wrist, such as plumbing, typing, or bricklaying Painting, Carpentry, Playing some types of musical instruments.
Certain sports. Participating in racket sports increases your risk of tennis elbow, especially if you employ poor stroke technique.
The pain associated with tennis elbow may radiate from the outside of your elbow into your forearm and wrist. Pain and weakness may make it difficult to:
- Shake hands or grip an object
- Turn a doorknob
- Hold a coffee cup
- At Mediacityphysio your professional physiotherapist will ask about your symptoms and medical history. They’ll check for pain in parts of your arm and ask you to do some simple motions such as straightening your wrist while they press on it. Moreover, some special test will allow your physiotherapist to diagnose your cause and reason of symptoms.
- You might have asked to imaging test like X-rays or MRIs to show what’s going on inside your arm. A test called electromyography (EMG) can use electrical currents to find nerve problems.
Tennis Elbow Prevention
Some small changes might help lower your risk of tennis elbow.
- Keep your arms and wrists strong and flexible. Build strength with light weights. Warm up and stretch before any activity, especially one that involves making the same motions over and over.
- Try not to make repetitive movements.
- If you play a sport with a racquet, have an expert check your equipment to be sure it’s the right size and fit.
Based on your diagnosis and goals combination of treatment methods has proven most beneficial when treating an individual with tennis elbow. In combination treatment may include strengthening exercises, your Physiotherapist may also recommend stretching and implement taping methods to offload the structures affected. However, when initially treating tennis elbow it is important to control the pain through use of ice, medication, rest and electrotherapy. It is also important to encourage the natural healing process, ensure optimal flexibility and gradually increase strength and stability to the area. Manual therapy techniques such as soft tissue massage and joint mobilisations are used to help reduce symptoms further. Moreover, you will be prescribed a personalised and progressive home exercise programme designed to gradually strengthen the soft tissues affected
If you would like to discuss your problem before booking an appointment please give our physiotherapy team a call, we will do our best to help.