Tennis Elbow - Underlying cause and treatment options through physiotherapy
The colloquial name for pain on the outside of your elbow is tennis elbow. This condition comes in the form of many different names because like in all things medical why make it simple? It can be called lateral epicondylalgia, lateral epicondylitis and lateral elbow tendionpathy. To simplify things we have summarised the condition so that you can understand why this pain occurs and how you don’t have to put up with it as there are things that can be done to alleviate your pain!
Tennis elbow is a condition where the outer part of the elbow become sore to touch and painful with every day movements, such as, but not limited to shaking hands, gripping the kettle or opening the door.
The primary cause of tennis elbow is overuse of the forearm muscles and their associated tendons performing repetitive and strenuous movements leading to degenerative changes in the tendon and microtears in the musculature. This can affect people from all walks of life ranging from tradies, hairdressers to hardcore gamers. If an individual has a low base of strength and endurance in their forearms it makes it that much easier for this condition to become pathological.
On closer inspection of the forearm musculature in individuals with tennis elbow it shows that the normal tissue in the area has changes. The muscles in the forearm usually include granulation tissue, microtears and degenerative changes with the absence of inflammatory processes in the area.
It is the role of physiotherapy to help alleviate symptoms through hands on physiotherapy techniques such as soft tissue massage, dry needling and specialised taping techniques. However, long term success is only achieved through home exercises programs prescription and progression. The reasoning behind this is due to the granulation tissue, microtears and degenerative changes only being addressed through progressive strengthening and stretching of the forearm musculature through a structure home exercise program.
As muscle takes weeks to build it may take anywhere from between 4 to 8 weeks to achieve a full resolution of pain and return of grip strength. However the longer this pain goes on for the longer it takes for the underlying pathology to be addressed.
It’s with that last final note that if you are experiencing elbow pain come on down to PhysioLogix - your local North Perth physio clinic as it is better to get on top of it sooner rather than later!