Tennis Elbow – you don’t need to play tennis to get it!
Tennis elbow is so called as one of the reasons you can get it is from faulty technique in a tennis shot. This is only one of the ways that you can get tennis elbow though, it can come on from many other activities that involve a lot of wrist and forearm use.
The medical name for this condition, lateral epicondylitis, gives us more information about where the problem occurs. The lateral epicondyle is a small bony prominence on the outside of the elbow and is the point of attachment for the tendons of the wrist extensor muscles. These muscles run up the top of the forearm and play a role in movements such as bending the wrist back, making a fist, and twisting the forearm.
Lateral epicondylitis occurs if these muscles are used more than they are used to, resulting in pain and damage to the tendon where it attaches onto the bone at the lateral epicondyle. If you have tennis elbow, you will likely report an increase in pain when gripping tightly or shaking hands, using a screwdriver or twisting a jar, or any activity that requires wrist and hand use. The outside of the elbow can be very sensitive to touch, and you may find it will get very stiff, especially first thing in the morning.
In order to treat tennis elbow, it is important to identify the reason why it became injured in the first place and correct that. Apart from stopping the aggravating activity, there are often other contributing factors that need to be changed in each individual case. These can be related to our own anatomy in the elbow and arm, movement patterns which are overloading and therefore damaging the tendon, or factors relating to the equipment being used.
A physiotherapist can identify the changes that need to be made in each individual case and implement these. As well as this there is specific treatment that can be done to the tendon to ensure optimal healing such as friction massage and laser, and a stretching and strengthening program should be implemented too to ensure the muscles and tendons are in good shape to be able to cope comfortably with being used in the future.
So even if you don’t play tennis, you can still be affected by tennis elbow. Taking the right action will take your pain away.