What is tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylalgia, is a common musculoskeletal condition in the elbow. Tennis players are not the only ones who can get tennis elbow! Up to 40% of the population will present with this condition, commonly between the ages of 35-54 years.
It is an injury from repetitive overuse of the muscles in the forearm. Manual workers such as those in meat or factory processing, or any job that involves repetitive hand and wrist movements, may find themselves with this elbow injury.
Do you have tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow usually presents in the dominant arm but can happen in both. This condition is characterised by pain at the lateral epicondyle of the humerus (that is the pointy part of the elbow on the side sitting further away from your body). The pain can radiate down the forearm, and is usually worse upon palpation of the lateral epicondyle, gripping, and/ or extension of the wrist, index or middle finger.
It is important to know if your pain is from tennis elbow or other sources in the arm or neck – one of our physiotherapists will be able to conduct a thorough examination!
How can physiotherapy help?
Advice and management strategies – as tennis elbow is an overuse injury, physiotherapists can work with you to identify and modify what and how you may be aggravating your elbow
Manual therapy – certain massage and mobilisation techniques to the elbow, wrist, and cervicothoracic spine (neck and upper back) can help reduce pain and improve function
Exercise therapy – a tailored exercise program to gradually load the tendon and muscles is needed in regaining pain free function of the arm
Taping and braces – support to the elbow joint can provide pain relief so that essential daily activities can still be performed
Dry needling – your physiotherapist may choose to use needling for pain relief and relieving tight muscles in the forearm
Shockwave therapy – another adjunct therapy that can be helpful in those with longstanding tennis elbow injuries
How long will it take to go away?
A comprehensive examination and tailored treatment plan involving the treatment techniques mentioned above will typically see improvement within 12 weeks.
To book an initial consult at My Physio My Health in Lightsview or Holden Hill please book an appointment online.