What is it?
Despite the term, it is not just reserved for tennis players! Tennis elbow or golfers elbow as it is also known (official term lateral epicondylagia), is tendon injury, where micro tears within the tendons that attach to a small area on the elbow cause pain.
What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?
A sharp pain on the outside of the elbow and difficulty doing some everday tasks such as picking up a kettle, shaking someones hand, playing racket sports or any similar activities. The pain can spread into the forearm, and occasionally above the elbow. The pain is usually sharp and is often described as ‘electric’ or ‘shooting’.
Why does tennis elbow happen?
Collagen bundles start to break down as a normal part of the degenerative process which weakens tendons. This degeneration starts much earlier than you might realise, and tennis elbow is more likely over the age of 30 because of these degenerative issues. More recent thinking is that your shoulder is more involved with tennis elbow problems than originally thought. Tennis elbow can often be brought on after repeated wrist and elbow movements, particularly if the muscles in your arm are weak or inflexible.
- If you start feeling pain in this area, rest immediately if possible
- Stretch the forearm muscles
- Stretch the shoulders and cuff muscles
- If playing racket sports or you are a tradesman, measure the grip of the item you use regularly. Measure the tip of your middle finger down to the mid point of your palm. This measurement should be equal to the diameter of the item you are gripping. Any difference could account for your pain
- You may wish to use an elbow brace (placed 10cm below the elbow joint)
- Ice and self-massage on any tender points in your forearm may help
What can Corsham Physiotherapy do to help my tennis elbow?
Tendons generally are slow healers and so getting started with treatment as soon as possible will result in much quicker outcomes. This is because the tendon is in constant use and there is a lack of blood and nerve supply to the area which usually aid the healing process.
The treatment approach we use will vary depending on the individual, and our professional staff will discuss and agree a treatment program with you.
Treatment may include:
- the use of a brace or strapping
- medical acupuncture
- specific massage techniques
- shockwave treatment for persistent pain, or where a quicker recovery is needed
- steroid injection for persistent tennis elbow
Our professional staff will discuss and agree a treatment program with you.