What is tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is the name for pain over the outer part of the elbow where by the muscle tendon that inserts here becomes painful from over use.
How can I test myself to see if I have tennis elbow
1. Make a fist and squeeze hard
2. Try and lift your whole hand upwards whilst resisting the movement with your other hand
3. Try and lift your middle finger whilst resisting the movement with your other hand
Why have I got tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow can occur after trauma but usually it is related to new or increase in activity using the forearm. For example, playing tennis when you are not used to it or increasing your typing activities at work during peak work load.
It comes back to the load ‘capacity’ versus ‘demand’ debate, which in a nut shell means that the muscles that attach to the outside of your elbow are less able to cope (reduced capacity) compared to what you have asked it to do (high demand).
Unfortunately, if not managed correctly in the early acute phases, tennis elbow can quite easily become a persistent injury that continues to aggravate with day-to-day activities.
How can I treat me elbow pain?
In the acute early stages of we do recommend icing the area and speaking to your pharmacist about a short course of anti-inflammatory medications. It is also important to reduce or avoid the activities which are aggravating the symptoms (i.e. typing, using the mouse, gripping activities, lifting activities).
In physiotherapy, we use a range of techniques to help alleviate pain such a strapping, soft tissue massage and acupuncture. We also devise a patient specific exercise regime to gently stretch the area and start a re-conditioning strength programme. The latter is extremely important to help the muscle tendon cope with a gradual increase in activity (i.e. returning you to your pre-injury level of activity) without irritating your pain.