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  • Danielle Labuschagne

Struggling to get a grip on your tennis elbow?

Updated: May 31, 2019

But you don’t even play tennis… How is this possible?

What is a tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is a condition that describes a persistent disabling pain in the outer part of your elbow. It is also called lateral epicondylitis. It is believed to occur due to a tendinopathy of the common extensor origin, meaning inflammation in the tendons of the outer forearm muscles. However, more recently it has been described as a degenerative overuse-underuse tendinopathy. Although the exact cause of a tennis elbow is not yet known, it occurs commonly in jobs or sports that require repetitive rotational movements of the forearm and hand. This includes tennis players, carpenters, needlework and knitting etc.

Signs and symptoms

  • Persisting dull aching pain in lateral elbow

  • Decreased grip strength and pain with gripping

  • Decreased functional activities

  • Increased pain with rotational movements – opening a bottle / unlocking a door

  • Tenderness over the outer part of the elbow (lateral epicondyle)

  • Pain with resisted wrist and middle finger extension

  • Pain with passive wrist flexion.

Now what?

Various treatment methods have been developed and used to treat tennis elbow.

  • Surgery could be considered if conventional treatment strategies failed to provide adequate relief and repair.

  • Conventional methods:

1. Anti-inflammatory medication

2. Corticosteroid injections

3. Botox injections

4. Drug therapies

5. Physiotherapy

- Electrotherapy modalities: Ultrasound, Laser, TENS and Interferential

- Dry Needling

- Soft tissue treatments: massage of forearm muscles, deep transverse friction

- Rehabilitation exercises:

Gradual loading of the tendon (concentric and eccentric loading)

Stretching of the forearm extensor muscle

- Taping

- Bracing

… so don’t hang up that tennis racket just yet …

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