Tennis elbow is also called lateral epicondylitis or lateral epicondylalgia and is a condition that affects the outside tendons of the forearm. These tendons are called the wrist extensors, and they either attach at the elbow or just above it. This is an overuse injury that is common in sports such as tennis. That involve a combination of elbow flexion and wrist extension.
Causes of tennis elbow
In the vast majority the cause of tennis elbow is overuse or repetitive stress injury. The extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle seems to be affected most. This muscle helps stabilise the wrist when the elbow is straight. Repeated stress to this muscle leads to micro tears in the tendon and pain and inflammation result. This is common in tennis players, carpenters and weight lifters.
Symptoms of tennis elbow
The most common symptoms of tennis elbow would include:
- Pain on the outer aspect of the elbow
- Weak grip strength
- Pain on holding things
Treatment of tennis elbow
Wrist exercises, along with chiropractic and physiotherapy hands on treatments will improve the vast majority of patients. Non-surgical treatments such as this have around a 80-95% success rate, however progression can be slow. Our chiropractors and physiotherapists at Sydney Spine & Sports Centre (S3C) will aim to:
- P.R.I.C.E. protocols where approapraite in intial injury (PROTECT. REST. ICE. COMPRESSION. ELEVATION)
- Reduce pain or unload the elbow extensor tendons with activity modification
- Chiropractic and physiotherapy methods for pain reduction and to reduce irritation/inflammation
- Initial exercises for pain reduction and to help tissue healing
- Strengthening exercises and increase the loading capacity, and tedon properties of the wrist extensors