Tennis Elbow? But I’ve never played tennis!
The elbow is the joint that, in simple terms, allows us to bring things towards us or to take them away from us.
However, it is in the elbow that the important muscles of gripping and some important fine dexterity hand movements attach. Therefore, depending on our daily activities, occupation and hobbies, whether they require holding a racket and channelling all the top spin you can to win the set point, painting the baby’s room or taking on that DIY project that has been sitting in the shed for a few months, these points of attachment can become irritated.
Epicondilitis (when acute) and epicondylosis (when chronic) describe this irritation process that occurs on the outer bony prominence of the elbow (epicondyle) when there is overload or overuse of these muscles.
To manage this condition, it is very important to understand what has caused the overload (i.e. change in activities due to a new project, taking on some new sport that requires gripping, repetitive movements, repetitive and prolonged use of a keyboard, etc) and adapt the way we do it (swap between hands, give periods of rest). If the overload has caused lingering muscle tightness, sensible and specific stretches of these muscles and respective attachment may be useful to improve the symptoms. Apart from advice, Physiotherapy can help to address the symptoms and the underlying cause with bespoke and oriented exercises, along with manual therapy techniques.
More chronic conditions, usually with occupational causes, may fail to heal with the above approach due to the daily repetitive load put upon these structures over many years. If this is the case, there is recent evidence for the application of Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy in the treatment of these stubborn cases of tennis elbow.
The good news is that all of these approaches are available for you, here at Lakky Physiotherapy!
Picture: adapted from AAFP
Kane, S.F.; Lynch, J. H., Taylor, J. C., Womack Army Medical Center, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, Am Fam Physician (AAFP). 2014 Apr 15;89(8):649-657.
Lee JH, Kim TH, Lim KB, Effects of eccentric control exercise for wrist extensor and shoulder stabilization exercise on the pain and functions of tennis elbow, J Phys Ther Sci. 2018 Apr;30(4):590-594. doi: 10.1589/jpts.30.590. Epub 2018 Apr 20.
Wong CW1, Ng EY1, Fung PW1, Mok KM1, Yung PS1, Chan KM, Comparison of treatment effects on lateral epicondylitis between acupuncture and extracorporeal shockwave therapy, Asia Pac J Sports Med Arthrosc Rehabil Technol. 2016 Nov 24;7:21-26. doi: 10.1016/j.asmart.2016.10.001. eCollection 2017 Jan