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Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) Physiotherapy
Funnily enough...people who get tennis elbow don't play tennis!
less than 5% of all cases of tennis elbow happen in people who play
tennis - tennis elbow can happen to anyone who repeatedly uses their
elbow, wrist, and hand for their job, sport, or hobby.
What Is Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)?
Tennis elbow is a painful condition caused by overuse of the
"extensor" muscles in your arm and forearm, particularly where the
tendons attach to rounded projections of bone (epicondyles) on the
outside or lateral aspect of the elbow.
The muscles that you use to
- twist and
- carry objects
with your hand all attach to the "lateral
epicondyle" at the elbow. That's why a movement of the wrist or hand can
actually cause pain in the elbow.
Prolonged use of the wrist and hand, such as when using a computer or
operating machinery —and, of course, playing tennis with an improper
grip or technique—can lead to tennis elbow.
It can happen to athletes,
non-athletes, children, and adults. Most of the time, it occurs more often in men than
women, and most commonly affects people between the ages of 30 and 50.
Signs and Symptoms of tennis elbow
Symptoms of tennis elbow can happen suddenly as a result of excessive
use of the wrist and hand for activities that require force, such as
- twisting or
Forceful activities—like pulling strongly
on a lawn mower starter cord—can injure the extensor muscle fibers and
lead to a sudden acute onset of tennis elbow.
Most of the time, though, symptoms of tennis elbow develop gradually
over a period of weeks or months as a result of repeated or forceful use
If you work as a grocery store cashier,
you might have symptoms of tennis elbow as a result of repetitive (and
often too forceful) typing—combined with continuous lifting of grocery
Your symptoms may include:
- Pain that radiates into your forearm and wrist
- Difficulty doing common tasks, such as turning a doorknob or holding a coffee cup
- Difficulty with gripping activities
- Increased pain when you use your wrist and hand for lifting objects,
opening a jar, or gripping something tightly, such as a knife and fork
- Elbow joint stiffness
- Weakness in the forearm, wrist, or hand
How Is It Diagnosed?
Tennis elbow usually occurs due to repeated movements.
As a result,
other muscles and joints in this region of the body may be affected as
well. Our senior physiotherapists and senior hand therapists will perform a careful examination not
only of your elbow but of other areas of your body that might be
affected and might be contributing to your pain.
perform special manual tests that help diagnose the problem and help
detect conditions such as muscle weakness that might have led to the
problem in the first place.
For instance, we might ask you to
gently tense or stretch the sore muscles to identify the exact location
of the problem.
X-ray are not required to diagnose tennis elbows, simply because x-rays won't reveal anything that is non-bony in nature (x-rays are mainly to view joint or bone abnormalities), and can't see anything "soft" like muscles, tendons, ligaments etc.
how our senior physiotherapists and senior hand therapists can help
The First 24 to 48 Hours
For the first 24 to 48 hours after acute onset of your pain, treatment includes:
- Resting the arm by avoiding certain activities and modifying the way you do others
- Using 10-20 minute cold therapy treatments
- Using elastic bandages or supports to take the pressure off of the painful muscles
We will assess and decide if you should use a brace or
support to protect your muscles while the area is healing. Depending on
severity, we may recommend that you consult with an orthopedic doctor for further testing or for consideration of
additional treatment such as medication.
In rare cases, treatments such
as cortisone injection or surgery might be needed. We can help you determine whether you need a referral to another
health care provider as value-added service to you - we do have a medical network that we work closely with.
We can design a specific treatment program to
speed your recovery.
There will very likely be exercises and other
treatments that you will be expected to do at home. We also might use special physical therapy treatments to help relieve pain, such as
For an "acute" case of tennis elbow—one that has occurred within the
past few weeks— it's important to treat as early as possible. Left
untreated, tennis elbow may become chronic and last for months and
sometimes even years.
This is especially true if treatment is
focused only on relieving pain and not on correcting the muscle weakness
and bad habits that might have led to your condition in the first
Improve Your Ability to Move
We may use manual therapy to enable your joints and muscles to move more freely with less pain.
Improve Your Strength
Insufficient muscle strength can lead to tennis elbow.
weakness is in the muscles of the wrist and forearm. In many cases, the
problem stems from weakness of the supporting postural, or "core,"
muscles. In fact, you might find that it is necessary to improve your
overall level of fitness to help manage your elbow condition.
the evaluation, we can determine the type and
amount of exercises that are right for you.
Our senior physiotherapists and hand therapists prescribe several types of exercises during recovery from tennis elbow:
- Early in the treatment, when the pain is most intense, we may recommend passive exercises in which your wrist and elbow
are moved without the use of your muscles.
- As your symptoms improve, you can move the wrist and elbow actively without assistance.
- As the muscles become stronger and the symptoms have lessened, you
will be able to begin using weights or resistance bands to further
increase your strength. The amount of weight will need to be carefully
monitored to make sure you continue to progress and avoid re-injuring
Use Your Muscles the Right Way
We can help you retrain your muscles so that you
use them properly. For example, when you lift a heavy grocery bag, you
should contract the muscles around your shoulder blade and trunk to
provide support for your arm muscles.
This simple movement can be easily
taught to you by our senior physiotherapists and hand therapists can lessen the stress to the
injured muscles and help you return to your normal activities while
Return to Your Activities
We will help you remain active by teaching you
how to modify your daily activities to avoid pain and further injury.
Sometimes it's necessary to make changes at work, on the playing field,
or in the home.
We can help you make simple
modifications to your work site, your computer set-up, your kitchen
devices, your sports equipment, and even your gardening tools to lessen
the strain to your hand, wrist, and forearm. We will
emphasize the importance of taking stretch breaks so that your muscles
get frequent rest from repetitive movements and standing or sitting in
the same position.
Yes, tennis may be a contributing factor to tennis elbow for several
reasons. Sometimes the problem results from over-training. In other
cases, the weight of the racquet or its grip may need to be adjusted.
For others, the problem may stem from improper form, poor overall
fitness, or a lack of strength in the supporting or "core" muscles of
the trunk and shoulder blades.
We can help analyze the
source of the problem and help find a solution.
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book an appointment today
(or check your pains / injuries)
Phoenix Rehab Physio Services
Phoenix Rehab Group works with specialist physiotherapists and rehab therapists who are highly trained, qualified, experienced and passionate to provide high level of expert care to our patients.
PHYSIOTHERAPY & PHYSICAL THERAPY
See all the conditions our principal physiotherapists treat.
HAND THERAPY & CUSTOMIZED SPLINTING
Patients who sustained injuries to their elbows, forearms, hands, wrists
(sprains and fractures) and fingers, usually will benefit / require Hand Therapy to
- manage and decrease hand pains
- improve range of motion, strength and dexterity
- increase the function of their hand
following injuries or post-operations
Commonly treated hand pain injuries includes
REFORMER CLINICAL PILATES & WELLNESS PILATES
Clinical Pilates is a form of physical exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility and breathing.
It is a system of safe and effective exercises, which
meet specific individual needs, to treat a wide range of injuries
You may do Pilates as matwork or with the reformer or both, and every session will be customized 100% to your fitness, injury and tolerance.
TRADITIONAL CHINESE MEDICINE (TCM)
- Cupping TCM
- Auricular Therapy TCM
- Herbal TCM Medicine & Supplementation
DEEP TISSUE RELEASE & SPORTS MASSAGE THERAPY
Sports and deep tissue release massage helps to increase nutrient-rich blood
flow to tired, tight and tense muscles to accelerate recovery and shorten downtime / recovery period required.
It also prevents
muscles from scar tissue micro-tears (and potential ruptures), and increases muscle
performance. Having regular deep tissue and sports massage will keep your muscles healthy and fit with body/movement-confidence.
Read the benefits of regular deep tissue release therapy here.
All our allied health therapists and TCM physicians are fully insured and registered with Allied Health Professions Council (AHPC) and Traditional Chinese Medicine Board (TCMB).
See our entire team here with introductions and their specializations.
At the first session, our specialist physiotherapists will carry out a thorough
assessment, helping them to select the most appropriate treatment to
help you recover as well as provide treatment in the same session.
Follow up sessions are inline to provide
expert treatment for your pain as well as prescribing specific
exercises to reduce your risk of re-injury and giving you a long term
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book an appointment today
(or check your pains / injuries)
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