About 1-3% of the population suffers from tennis elbow yearly. It is the most common cause of elbow pain. If you are dealing with tennis elbow, you may be tempted to ignore the symptoms as you believe they will go on their own, but there are better treatment methods. Physical therapy is one of these methods.
What Is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is medically known as lateral epicondylitis. It is a very painful condition that occurs when the tendons in the elbow are overworked and overwhelmed. Despite what the name implies, this condition is not limited to athletes. Rather, anyone who engages in repeated motions that strain the elbows runs the risk of tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow manifests as pain on the outside of the elbow because this is the area where the tendons are located. The tendons connecting forearm muscles to elbows are what are mainly affected in tennis elbow. The pain from the condition may be localized or may spread down the forearm, even reaching the wrist.
Signs and Symptoms
Some of the symptoms that accompany tennis elbow include:
- Inability to properly grip items
- Weakness in the forearms and wrist
- Sharp pains when you stretch or contract your elbow
Causes of Tennis Elbow
Tennis Elbow is mostly an overuse injury.
Repeated strenuous actions on the elbow: engaging in repetitive actions that put a strain on your elbow is the major cause of tennis elbow. These activities can include things like using a computer mouse, painting, hammering, and more.
Sports like tennis: the name of the condition is derived from the fact that tennis players suffer from this a lot. The repetitive and strenuous motion of swinging a tennis racket or to tight of a grip causes the tendons to suffer from tiny tears that then lead to pain and weakness.
Overuse of elbow: overusing your elbow in any capacity can lead to tennis elbow. This includes work like lifting weights and barbells or boxing and wrestling. Putting too much strain on the elbow leads to tendons becoming weak and aggravated which leads to pain.
How to Prevent Tennis Elbow
Prevention of tennis elbow can be done by being conscious of your elbows and the amount of strain they carry – try to avoid fully contracting or extending your arm so the tendons are not overworked. A good way to do this is to learn to use on your shoulders and upper arms to reduce the strain on your elbows.
Another great tip for preventing tennis elbow is properly stretching and warming up your muscles before engaging in sports or activities, especially those that involve prolonged use of elbows.
Exercises to stretch and strengthen your wrist and forearm muscles can be a big help in preventing tennis elbow.
How can Physical Therapy help with Tennis Elbow?
Physical therapy can help people dealing with tennis elbow to develop strength and flexibility in their forearms. This treats the condition and fortifies them against a recurrence of the tennis elbow. Physical therapy may include exercises to teach patients new ways to use their arms and elbows when working.
Physical therapy can also help with pain relief when it comes to tennis elbow. This may involve the application of dry needling, muscle stimulation through massages, or support braces to immobilize the elbow for some time and let it rest.
There are many ways a physical therapist can assist you if you are dealing with tennis elbow. Contact us today to learn more about this and we will help you out!