Tennis elbow is pain on the outside of your elbow. It is possible that you never held a tennis racquet in your had and yet leave your general practitioner or orthopedist with this diagnosis. The pain presents itself almost always when you are shaking someone’s hand or even try to bring a cup of tea to your lips. At first the pain is not too bad and you can ignore it. However, once you start to develop pain at rest, it is time to do something about this. Luckily, in most cases your best treatment option is conservative.
What is tennis elbow
Lateral epicondylitis is a medical term for tennis elbow. The painful area is right on the outside bony part of your elbow, sometimes it radiates into your forearm. The extensor tendons are injured at the the insertion into the bone. The muscle we can blame most is the extensor carpi radialis brevis. This muscle participates in turning your palm forward with your elbow extended and with the elbow flexed turns the palm down. When the extensor tendons se overloaded with repetitive motion, they can get inflamed causing pain.
Tennis elbow is caused by repeated movements of the wrist that overload the forearm tendons. It is most common in manual laborers, like painters, plumbers, mechanics and you have guessed, tennis players.
If your symptoms started less than a week ago, rest and icing your elbow will most likely be enough. However, if you are struggling with this condition for longer, the first treatment choice is physical therapy. Physical therapy uses therapeutic exercises, manual therapy, taping and other modalities to reduce pain and assist with the healing process.
Your physical therapist can also help you determine why you developed tennis elbow and can implement postural correction to help you prevent it after you finished your rehabilitation.