If you are someone who does a lot of repetitive physical work with your hands and have had persistent pain on the outer side of your elbow, chances are you have Lateral Epicondylitis – also known as ‘Tennis Elbow’. And surprise, surprise: it’s not too common among tennis players!
What Is Tennis Elbow?
The elbow joint, like the other joints in our body, is surrounded by some muscles, ligaments, and other soft tissue. These muscles work to control movements in your hands like extending your wrist and fingers. Lateral Epicondylitis is a condition where local micro trauma to these muscles leads to swelling and pain. The region also becomes painful to touch in acute cases. If left untreated, it becomes chronic and persistent and is very prone to recurrence.
The Causes of Tennis Elbow
The most common cause of tennis elbow is sudden, repetitive movements that cause undue stress on these structures leading to tiny tears in the muscle. As this happens, the body responds with protective inflammation which leads to pain. Now, since the muscles that are involved generally control movements of your wrist and fingers, it also causes painful and weak gripping or turning of the hand.
Activities that may cause tennis elbow include job roles, sports, or household chores that involve strong gripping and extending of the hand. Common occupations and hobbies that may predispose you to tennis elbow include plumbing, raking, racket sports, painting, playing musical instruments, and any jobs that involve a lot of twisting movements of the hands and forearm.
The most common symptoms of tennis elbow include:
- Pain on shaking hands
- Pain on lifting objects
- Local pain and tenderness around outer elbow
- Redness and heat around outer elbow
- Pain on turning the doorknob or wringing clothes
Treating Tennis Elbow
Prevention is the best cure! See your Registered Physiotherapist to get education on the risk factors and preventive measures you can take. If you have been diagnosed or suspect you may be suffering from tennis elbow, a physiotherapist can do a detailed assessment and make a treatment plan cut out for you to help with your rehabilitation and prevent re-injury.
Common Physiotherapy treatment options include:
- Soft tissue techniques such as friction massage
- Therapeutic modalities such as Ultrasound, ice packs, and shockwave therapy
- Exercise protocol to strengthen weak muscles
Book an appointment with your Physiotherapist and get that elbow looked at!
Footprint Health and Wellness Centre is a multi-disciplinary clinic located in South Barrie, offering chiropody, physiotherapy, and massage therapy services. Book your appointment now!
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