Lateral epicondylitis, more commonly known as ‘Tennis Elbow’, is a repetitive use injury causing micro trauma to the tendon that attaches into the outside of your elbow. The muscles that attach into this tendon move your wrist, hand, fingers and forearm. These muscles tend to be heavily used in tennis especially during backhand, hence the name tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow is not isolated to racquet sports and occurs often in repetitive computer use, heavy lifting and repetitive vibration of the upper limb. Tennis elbow is commonly experienced in electricians, carpenters, gardeners and people working in desk bound jobs. This is due to the repetitive one-sided movements these jobs entail. This condition is most common in adults between 30-50 years of age.
Common symptoms of Tennis elbow include:
- Pain that builds gradually on the bump on the outside of your elbow that may extend into your forearm.
- The area around your elbow could be tender to touch or swollen.
- Feeling of weakness or stiffness in your forearm.
- Movements like gripping a handshake, opening up a door, or holding a mug may be painful or feel weak.
Following an assessment, our physiotherapists can recommend exercises tailored to improve the mobility and strength of the muscles in your arm. We will also equip you with strategies to help prevent strain to the injured site. For an acute flare up of tennis elbow it is recommended to use RICE (rest, ice, compression, elevation). If your pain does not improve it’s advisable to see a physiotherapist.
Following an assessment by one of your physiotherapists, we will suggest exercises to improve the function of your upper limb. We will also provide you with strategies to help prevent strain to the injured site. You will also receive a tailored exercise program, which will factor in strength imbalances, load progression and adequate rest.
Research continues to show the benefits of exercise for improving tennis elbow symptoms and improving function. Our physiotherapists will also talk through task or workstation ergonomics to reduce muscle strain as well as advise on any elbow supports or alternative treatments that may help.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, we strongly recommend you make an appointment with one of our physiotherapists. This is important as early targeted physiotherapy management improves tennis elbow outcomes.
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