- Lian Yun-Perng, Physiotherapist
Tennis Elbow- Is it related to tennis?
Tennis elbow is a very common problem to the elbow and unlike its name, anyone can have tennis elbow. The term tennis elbow was probably coined from the popular sports of tennis because it requires a significant amount of strength from your wrist and elbow extensor muscles to hit a tennis ball.
In medical terms, tennis elbow is called lateral epicondylitis which is basically inflammation (which might not be true) of the wrist extensor compartment on the outside of your elbow. This condition is quite common among office workers, racquet players, golf players or housewives. Often times, the condition starts after a series of prolonged overuse/stress or after a sudden intensive physical activity.
For example, playing tennis suddenly when you have not played for years, typing continuously for more than 4 hours straight for 3 days or cleaning the whole house when you're not used to it.
Treatment & Solution
Tennis elbow is a form of tendinitis, tendinopathy or tendonitis and the best way to improve the condition is to LOAD it. Loading the tendon will help improve the tissue’s capacity to accept stress. The principle is that simple, but it takes some work and testing to find the right load. Unfortunately, many healthcare professionals do not load the tendons enough despite the abundance of evidence supporting it.
There are also other treatments that can be done for tennis elbow and it is listed below but the most important part of treatment is history taking and assessment. We can only determine the issue by assessing your joints, muscles and nerves. Secondly, it is with consistent physiotherapy treatment and home exercise programme that will help you be pain free in the long term.
Kinesio tape – Used as a form of skin distraction. Your body’s system will focus on the tape and you will be distracted from your pain. Many will claim that the kinesio tape will help with movement and performance but that is not always the case.
Posterior shoulder release – Sometimes you can have pseudo elbow pain as a result of a Shoulder problem and relaxing the shoulder muscles should help.
Electrotherapy – Small electrical impulses will pass through your skin to stimulate your nerves for pain relief. These electrical impulses are proposed to reach your brain which should lead to the release of your body’s own natural morphine (pain killers).
Nerve mobilisation – A “tight” radial nerve can also be the reason for tennis elbow. Nerve mobilisation is used to improve the mobility of the nerve.
Advice – Take a break every 45-60 minutes during work.
Tendon Loading – Loading your tendons sufficiently to create good physiological response/ healing
Please drop us a message if you’re unsure if physiotherapy will help. We are happy to answer any questions you have.