Tennis Elbow is a condition in which pain is experienced over the outside part of the elbow.
This generally results from overuse of the muscles in the forearm, wrist and hand. The medical term for this condition is Lateral Epicondylitis. The condition was coined “Tennis Elbow” due to the high prevalence amongst tennis players.
Patients with “tennis elbow” normally complain of the following:
- Pain on the outside of the elbow, which may or may not refer to the hand.
- Pain when shaking someones hand.
- Pain when lifting a kettle or opening jars.
- Pain with any squeezing type grip manoeuvres.
Although there are a variety of factors that could contribute to the condition, generally some type of personal or environmental change accompanies the onset. This could be anything from a change in racket grip size to a lengthy go-fetch session with your dog over the weekend.
Physiotherapy is proven to be one of the most effective longterm treatment options, as it results in far less recurrences as apposed to just resting or corticosteroid injections (Bisset et al. 2006).
The two main components contributing to “tennis elbow” are degeneration of the tendon-bone attachment at the elbow and decreased neural mobility from the neck into the upper limb.
The reason for the infamous reputation as a recurrent condition, is due to the fact that patients either resort to a quick fix/short term corticosteroid solution, or having had a previous ineffective, one dimensional approach by a manual therapist.
Successful treatment of “tennis elbow” requires, but is not limited to:
- Thorough clinical assessment by an accredited health care professional
- Specific Manual therapy
- Structured, progressive exercise program
- Specific neural mobilisations as indicated
- Activity modification
With the proper treatment, your tennis elbow is but a few weeks from being something of the past.