What is Tennis Elbow?
Elbow pain will affect around 40% of people at some time in their life. For most, the pain will be on the outside of the elbow or perhaps down the forearm. Lateral elbow pain – or tennis elbow, often results from the repetitive hand tasks such as gardening or using a hammer, although it may just appear for seemingly no reason. It mainly affects the dominant arm, and sufferers of tennis elbow will nearly always be between 35 and 55 years of age. The pain is caused by a repetitive process of damage and repair to the muscles where they attach to the outside of the elbow. Research has also found that some tennis elbow sufferers’ pain is caused by problems in one of the nerves that travels down the arm from the neck, sometimes a result of stiffness in the neck.
What does it feel like?
- Pain at the outside of the elbow or top of the forearm
- Tender to touch the bone at the outside of the elbow
- Pain with gripping and twisting activities, lifting (even light objects)
- Symptoms can go on for months
How we can help
Tennis elbow can be treated conservatively and physio treatment is recommended as the first line of defense. Often postural as well as mechanical factors play a part in causing tennis elbow. Your physiotherapist will be able to treat your tennis elbow and identify any incorrect postural, ergonomic or movement issues that may be causing your pain.
Recent research has found that physiotherapy was more effective than injections in reducing pain and increasing function over the first 3 months. Soft tissue mobilisation, joint mobilisation, neural mobilisation and taping may be also be used in your treatment. Exercises to increase tissue mobility and strengthening are nearly always necessary.
Our physios are experts in the diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of musculoskeletal injuries and conditions including tennis elbow.