We experience various aches and pains that we sometimes ignore, but there are those that stop us from doing tasks that we usually do and don’t seem to go away. One of those is known as tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow, known in the medical world as lateral epicondylitis, is an injury wherein sufferers feel nagging pain usually on the outside of the arm. The pain is usually located specifically where the elbow and forearm meet. This is the area where important muscles and tendons attach, and are often injured by repetitive movements. While it is termed as tennis elbow, only a few actually get it from playing tennis!
The problem with this type of injury is that it can put stress on the tendons and other areas of the arm, debilitating an individual from lifting and gripping objects. If this condition is unaddressed, it can become a chronic issue.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
The primary manifestation of tennis elbow is pain that radiates from the elbow, down the forearm and wrist. The pain and weakness can make it difficult to do normal things, like shaking hands, holding a cup of coffee, or even turning a doorknob.
Rest, ice compress, and pain relievers can sometimes help alleviate some of the symptoms. However if your pain persists following this, it is best to consult a physiotherapist for further assessment.
How Tennis Elbow Occurs
Tennis elbow is a type of overuse injury, wherein the repeated contraction of the forearm muscles can cause small tears or tendon irregularities that cause pain. Tennis Elbow intially got its name as it was thought that poor technique or excessive gripping was the cause. Whilst biomechanics may be a factor, we now also know that overuse, or changes in load, produce excess strain on the tendons, and trigger a change in the tendon makeup.
Are You At Risk?
Some of the factors that increase your risk include:
It can happen to people of all ages, but the risk increases for those who are around 30 to 50 years old.
For those who have jobs that involve repetitive movements of the wrist and forearm, such as tradespeople or computer workers, the risk further increases.
Engaging in Certain Sports
As we all now know, poor technique or biomechanics in any sport, particularly racket sports may contribute to tennis elbow. Tennis elbow is commonly seen in golf, tennis, badminton, squash and table tennis.
How Physiotherapy can Help
While doctors can certainly prescribe medications and advice for tennis elbow, physiotherapists are often the best line of defense. They can fully assses the injury, prescribe and oversee various exercises to alleviate the pain, provide manual therapies as well as complete biomechanical reviews and advice. If you think you are suffering from tennis elbow, the best way to know for sure is to consult with a physiotherapist near you. On that note, our able therapists at Melbourne Sports & Spinal Physiotherapy can definitely help.