December 19, 2018
There are a number of causes for pain in your elbow, one of the most common ones however, is tennis elbow. Despite its name, tennis elbow is often caused by a range of other activities that are not tennis. Some of these may include prolonged periods of gripping and twisting of the forearm, typing lots on the computer or a general reduction in forearm muscle strength.
“Tennis elbow” (or its official name lateral epicondylitis/epicondylalgia) occurs at the point where your forearm muscles attach into the the bony point at the side of your elbow called the lateral epicondyle. These muscles are responsible for bending the wrist back and play a role in grip strength.
Diagnosis of tennis elbow can be made by physiotherapist and is based on thorough history taking and a physical assessment. Occasionally an ultrasound scan or MRI may be performed, however these are often only required in extreme cases. To confirm that it is true tennis elbow, your physiotherapist may also examine your neck and shoulder to ensure that the elbow pain is not referred from the neck or shoulder. The nerves that supply your arm and elbow originate from the cervical spine (the neck) and is therefore important to have this thoroughly checked during your assessment.
The treatment for tennis elbow can be slow, as irritation of tendons can take considerable time to settle. The treatment will usually include the restoration of normal movement, addressing aggravating factors and progressing strength of the forearm muscles. This can sometimes start with isometric exercises (static contractions) and progression as strength improves. Your physio may also use a combination of massage, tape or braces and dry needling to alleviate the symptoms.
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