What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is inflammation of the muscles and tendons of the forearm as they attach to the humerus (upper arm) bone. This inflammation is caused by prolonged gripping activities such as hammering, driving screws, weight lifting, playing certain musical instruments, canoeing, digging in the garden, driving and, of
course, racquet sports.
Tennis elbow causes pain when the lateral epicondyle (In tennis elbow the pain is felt over the outmost part ).The pain is exacerbated by gripping activities and in some cases simple things like turning a door handle
can cause intense pain.
What can you do to prevent Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is usually caused by gripping activities, and gripping either too hard or for too long can bring on the pain. Make sure the item that you are gripping, whether it’s a tennis racquet, a hammer, is correct size for your hand. If it is too small it will cause you to grip too hard. If you play tennis for the first time in a long while, or you have to do a strenuos activity such as decorate a room in one weekend, make sure you take regular breaks and stretch the muscles which work over the wrist by doing ‘limp wrist’ and ‘policeman halting
traffic’ type stretches.
For those who have suffered from tennis elbow in the past it may be a good idea to wear a tennis elbow compression strap. They work by preventing the wrist extensor muscles (that run along the outer side
of the forearm) from contracting fully, thus reducing the strain on the elbow.
Management of Tennis Elbow
The success of rehabilitation of tennis elbow is dependent upon first controlling the inflammation. Depending on the severity of the condition, this may be alleviated simply by rest or with the use of anti-inflammatory medication or a Corticosteroid injection. However, in longstanding cases where there is degeneration of
the extensor tendons, anti- inflammatory medication, especially corticosteroid injections, should be avoided. This is because they can hinder tissue healing and in fact cause more degeneration. Ice therapy, using an Elbow Cryo/Cuff or ice pack, can be very effective in relieving the symptoms of Tennis Elbow.
The final part of Tennis Elbow rehabilitation is an eccentric strengthening program for the extensor tendons. It’s crucial that the load and number of repetitions are carefully recorded and progressively increased in a graduated manner under the supervision of a trained physiotherapist. This ensures that the load on the tendon is carefully controlled and gradually increased. The load on the tendons can be reduced and the symptoms of Tennis Elbow can be alleviated by using a Tennis elbow support. Some time in early stage static
cock up splint is also used to enhance healing.