Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a common injury that affects the outer part of the elbow. Despite its name, tennis elbow is not just limited to tennis players, but can also occur in individuals who perform repetitive motions of the wrist and arm.
Causes of Tennis Elbow:
Tennis elbow is typically caused by overuse of the forearm muscles and tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle (the bony bump on the outer part of the elbow). Repetitive activities that involve gripping and twisting of the wrist, such as tennis, golf, and manual labor, can put strain on these muscles and tendons, leading to microtears and inflammation.
In addition to overuse, other risk factors that may contribute to tennis elbow include age (individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 are at a higher risk), poor technique or equipment, and underlying medical conditions such as rheumatoid arthritis.
Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow:
The most effective treatment for tennis elbow involves a combination of rest, Physiotherapy and pain management. Some common treatment options include:
Rest and Activity Modification: Resting the affected arm and avoiding activities that aggravate the symptoms can help to reduce inflammation and promote healing. A period of rest is typically followed by a gradual return to activity with modified techniques.
Physiotherapy: A Physio can help to strengthen the muscles and tendons surrounding the elbow and improve range of motion. Specific exercises and stretches can also help to reduce pain and inflammation.
Shockwave Therapy: Shockwave therapy is a non-invasive medical treatment that uses high-energy acoustic waves to stimulate the body’s natural healing process. To read more please see our blog on Shockwave therapy.
Pain Management: Over-the-counter pain medications, such as ibuprofen, can help to reduce pain and inflammation. In more severe cases, a physician may recommend a corticosteroid injection to reduce inflammation.
Bracing: Wearing a brace or splint can help to support the affected arm and reduce stress on the affected tendons and muscles.
Surgery: In rare cases, surgery may be necessary to repair the damaged tendons and muscles. However, surgery is typically only considered after conservative treatment options have failed.