What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is pain on the outside (lateral) part of the elbow. The medical term for this injury is lateral epicondylitis or lateral epicondylalgia. Between 1 & 3 people per 100 (1-3%) suffer with this injury during their lifetime (Shiri et al 2006). The symptoms of tennis elbow are pain on palpation of the outside of the elbow bone (lateral epicondyle) and pain & weakness when gripping items in your hand. The tendon on the outside of the elbow is the common extensor tendon - which is under load when you extend your wrist and fingers. Therefore the pain is often provoked when using your wrist/hand during activities such as gripping or wrist extension (such as computer use - typing and mouse).
What is the treatment for tennis elbow?
Pain can continue for 2 years after initial onset, but the exact cause of tennis is still not fully understood. It is thought to be a degenerative process in the tendon connective tissues rather than acute inflammation (Dirks and Warden, 2011) or neuropathic (nerve) pain in the radial nerve which may be coming from irritation at the nerve root - in your neck or upper back. Only short-term benefits have been shown from corticosteroid injection and non-steroidal anti inflammatory medications (Green et al 2001) and Physiotherapy or wait-and-see has been shown to be better than corticosteroid injection at 1-year follow up (Bisset et al 2006).
Physiotherapy treatment options include education, postural advice, acupuncture, taping, manual therapy and exercise prescription.
Contact us today for an assessment and treatment if you are suffering with tennis elbow pain or any other repetitive strain injury.
References for physiotherapy treamtnet: acupuncture (Green et al 2002), taping (Vicenzino et al 2003), manual therapy (Herd & Meserve 2008), exercises (Smidt et al 2003).