Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis
- Tennis elbow occurs when there is inflammation of the tendons on the outer part of the elbow from an increased workload or overuse of the affected arm.
- Over time these attachment sites can degenerate and weaken, placing increased strain on the forearm and wrist muscles which work to extend the wrist and fingers.
What do I feel?
- The pain associated with tennis elbow is generally localised at the outside of the elbow, on the bony landmark called the lateral epicondyle, pain often radiates into the forearm and wrist.
- Tenderness to touch on the outer edge of the elbow or a general feeling of achiness.
- Tightness or tenderness of the muscles in the forearm.
- People may experience some weakness and inability to perform some of their normal activities of daily living, such as lifting a coffee cup, gripping to turn a doorknob or even raising an arm.
What can I do?
- Conservative (non-surgical) treatment involves resting and avoiding the repetitive actions which cause the pain as most as possible. A therapist can help you identify what activities may be aggravating your symptoms and discuss activity or postural modifications.
- A therapist may fabricate a customised brace or offer an off the shelf support if recommended to rest the wrist extensors. They will also customise a rehabilitation programme often consisting of stretching and strengthening exercises.
- Various treatments can be utilised alongside these exercises such as heat/ice, soft tissue massage and ultrasound imaging.
- Other modalities utilised can include anti-inflammatory medications prescribed by a physician or an injection.
The recovery time for tennis elbow can vary person to person depending on a range of factors including:
- Initial level/stage of pain or inflammation
- Daily activity level
- Occupation or hobbies
- Compliance to a customised rehabilitation programme