Two common elbow complaints are ‘tennis elbow’ (lateral epicondylitis) and ‘golfers elbow’ (medial epicondylitis) They typically result from overuse of the elbow.
Tennis elbow is classified as pain on the outside of the elbow joint, and caused by overuse of the forearm muscles involved in gripping, extending the wrist and extending the elbow (the backhand motion in tennis) Golfers elbow presents as pain on the inside of the elbow, and is caused by overuse of the forearm muscles involved in gripping, flexing the wrist and flexing the elbow (golf swing). Either of these can occur or be exacerbated by prolonged typing and mousing.
The tendon which attaches the muscles to the bone is damaged and can develop micro-tears. There is a poor blood supply to this area so it can take a long time to heal.
Causes can include overuse in sports such as tennis, golf, and other activities including gardening, painting, computer and mouse use and lifting and carrying.
Symptoms can include:
Physical therapy Treatment may include ice and anti-inflammatory measures to decrease pain and swelling, soft tissue release techniques to the forearm muscles, strengthening exercises (particularly eccentric exercises) to stimulate healing and promote recovery.
Other PT techniques such as mobilization, taping, stretching, ultrasound, cold laser and nerve stretches may also be required.
An elbow strap for tennis/golfers elbow can be very helpful to offload the tendon attachment and allow healing to occur. You should rest from any aggravating activities until the pain settles, if possible.
Elbow pain is a very common injury that is seen on a day to day basis by Advantage PT's therapists, please call to make an appointment with your physiotherapist to have your elbow pain accurately diagnosed and treated.