Have I got Tennis Elbow? I don't play tennis?!
Tennis elbow is an inflammation or degeneration of muscles in the forearm (primarily extensor carpi radialis brevis) that allow you to bend your wrist back. It causes pain in the outside of the elbow and can radiate down to the wrist, pain may worsen with particular wrist movements.
Tennis elbow can come on immediately or slowly over time and can result in a number of ways including a recent change in workload, an overloading of wrist activity, a change in use of racquets/tools/equipment and is thus usually confined to your dominant hand. It is common amongst cleaners, mechanics, carpenters and those of middle age (40-60).
I think this sounds like me... What now?!
Firstly, avoid painful activities when possible! Because your tendons are in a state of degenerative inflammation, rest is an essential first step to beating Tennis elbow once and for all.
Ice after work, sport or any aggravating activities for 15-20 mins (use an ice pack or frozen food packet but remember to use a towel in between)
Carry your equipment, tools or bags with the palm facing up to the sky and elbow slightly bent - this will offload the tendon by using the muscles that counteract the problematic ones.
Seek treatment from a physiotherapist to begin the rehabilitation process (because we know an evidence based rehab program is the best way to avoid re-injury and is far more therapeutic than just rest.
Leaving Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylalgia) behind...
Initially, it's vital that you see a physiotherapist to confirm a diagnosis and put you on the right treatment path with expert advice and opinion. Doing this will allow the most safe and effective way for leaving tennis elbow behind once and for all!
An effective treatment for tennis elbow usually involves soft tissue and joint mobilisations, strapping/bracing and a tailored rehab program.
If you have any questions, please don't hesitate to contact us.
Sam Mullany is a physiotherapist at the Rozelle and Kings Cross clinic.
To make a booking, call 8354 1534