Tennis elbow is a painful elbow disorder.The pain from tennis elbow comes mainly from injured or damaged tendons near the elbow. Tendons are strong bands of tissue that connect muscles to bones. When repeatedly stressed or overused, tendons can become inflamed and degenerate. This results in a painful condition called tendinopathy, the medical term for disorder of a tendon. Tennis elbow is simply a specific type of tendinopathy that occurs in a particular part of the elbow.
Tennis elbow is an overuse injury occurring in the lateral side of the elbow region, but more specifically it occurs at the common extensor tendon that originates from the lateral epicondyle. The acute pain that a person might feel occurs as one fully extends the arm.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Symptoms of tennis elbow include:
- Pain slowly increasing around the outside of the elbow. Less often, pain may develop suddenly.
- Pain is worse when shaking hands or squeezing objects.
- Pain is made worse by stabilizing or moving the wrist with force. Examples include lifting, using tools, opening jars, or even handling simple utensils such as a toothbrush or knife and fork.
Causes of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is most commonly seen in two groups of people:
Manual Laborers– People who work with their hands are at greater risk of developing tennis elbow. Jobs that may lead to tennis elbow include plumbers, painters, gardeners, and carpenters.
Sports Participants– Sports participants, especially racquet sport players, are prone to developing tennis elbow. About a third of amateur tennis players experience tennis elbow at some point in their careers. In addition to racquet sports, tennis elbow is seen in golfers, fencers, and other sports participants.
Treatment of tennis elbow by Excercise & Physical Therapy
As part of a tennis elbow rehabilitation program, exercise and physical therapy may promote tendon healing, restore normal range of motion, and build muscle strength and endurance.
Your doctor or physical therapist can develop a home program that will help restore your elbow movement and prevent further injury. He or she will explain each exercise, including the correct technique and number of times you should repeat each movement.
At ABC Physical Therapy center we provide several different types of physical therapy for the solution of Tennis Elbow Pain. Some examples include:
- Learning new techniques and using different equipment for activities to help prevent further injury
- Ultrasound applied over the tender area is commonly recommended, although there is little evidence to support its use. The theory is that this deep heat increases blood flow and tissue flexibility, and may decrease pain and muscle spasms. (Therapists don’t often use ultrasound therapy on children.)
- Electrical stimulation, or transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), which involves a mild electrical current that travels through electrodes placed at nerve trigger points. The objective is to mask pain signals sent by the brain to the body. Its effectiveness has not been proven.
- Massage over an inflamed area, which may reduce the formation of scar tissue and help new blood vessels grow in the damaged tissue. Massage is done by making small, firm circles over the injured area. It should not be painful and may be helpful before and after exercises.
- Manual therapy (sometimes called body work) uses just the hands to cause relaxation, lessen pain, and increase flexibility. Besides massage, manual therapy includes manipulation to position joints and bones. Mobilization is another form of manual therapy. The therapist uses slow, careful movements to twist, pull, or push bones and joints into position.