It may be called tennis elbow, but it doesn’t just come from playing tennis. Elbow pain can occur in athletes but also individuals who have relatively inactive jobs.
Pain on the outside of the elbow is often caused by a condition called lateral epicondylitis, more commonly known as tennis elbow. It involves the muscles and tendons of your forearm that extend to your wrist and fingers. Symptoms often develop gradually with mild pain that slowly worsens over time. Tennis elbow usually doesn’t come from an injury, but rather from overuse of the tendons in your forearm.
Symptoms include a weak grip and a pain or burning sensation on the outside of your elbow. Symptoms are usually aggravated by gripping activities, such as shaking hands, holding a racquet, or lifting a coffee cup and activities that involve turning your wrist – like opening a door. There is also usually a very tender point an inch or so past the bony part of the elbow.
Tennis elbow is often a persistent problem that can be helped with physiotherapy intervention. Every case is a little different, so no two treatment plans will be exactly the same. It is important for your physiotherapist to determine how far along you are in the healing process and develop an understanding of all of the factors contributing to the problem. Factors can include repetitive motions that overload the tissues, causing them to break down, or tightness of the muscles around the forearm and wrist that impact normal arm mechanics. Shoulder tightness can also cause increased stress on the tissues around the elbow and restricted neck mobility may impact the nerves that supply the muscles around the forearm. This can cause pain similar to that experienced with tennis elbow. Additionally, ergonomic factors are often important contributors to tennis elbow – these can include tennis form, posture at work, workstation set up, etc.
Your physiotherapist is not only your partner in figuring out the individual causes of your injury but will also work with you to implement techniques to help you to recover more quickly. This might include manual techniques to restore mobility to the tissues or stretching and strengthening exercises for muscles that are restricted. Modalities such as dry needling, ultrasound, and deep friction massage can also help to restore normal muscle tone around the elbow and stimulate the healing process.
If you are struggling with an elbow injury this spring, call Midtown Physiotherapy and find out how we can help resolve your pain and get you back to doing what you love!
Midtown Physiotherapy is a Toronto physiotherapy clinic offering client-centred and evidence-based treatment to help you get back to what you love. We offer appointments at our Yonge and St. Clair location, as well as home services for those unable to come to us. Click here to book online!