What is Tennis Elbow?
The term “tennis elbow” is a bit of a misnomer. This is owed to the detail that it has nothing to do with playing tennis or any other game in particular. It would be quite amusing if it were not for the fact that it is a very painful condition, and can cause severe damage.
Known in the technical realm as “lateral epicondylitis”, the term is used to denote a repetitive use syndrome in the elbow. This causes ache and soreness which is a result of an inflammation in the humerus just above the elbow joint. This is due to an injury to the tendons that exist there via excessive use and heavy strain.
Lateral epicondylitis is the most common of all gym injuries pertaining to the elbow. This is why seasoned physiotherapy practices, such as the Pillars of Wellness Centre in Burlington, offer a range of treatments related to epicondylitis in particular.
The Causes for Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is caused by the repetitive motion of the arm and overuse. Activities which include twisting and rotating the arm multiple times are part of its cause. Motions such as these injure the tendons in the elbow, producing minute tears. These then lead to pain, as the damage reaches the nerves, and if not taken care of, can be permanent.
Although not named directly after the sport, tennis players and other sportsmen do suffer from epicondylitis. Even activities like using a screwdriver for long periods of time, or painting and gardening, can lead to tennis elbow. These are oft-repeated motions that cause damage to the tendons, wearing away the fleshy fiber that holds them together. Continuing this without giving the body time to repair the wear and tear is what adds to the harm.
Tennis elbow is also the result of holding your arm in a fixed or awkward position for a long period of time, and then jerking it unexpectedly. This puts stress on the elbow and the tendons underneath, causing trauma and injury.
The Symptoms that are Particular to Tennis Elbow
Although tennis elbow is the most common elbow injury in adults, it can be confused with other elbow issues. It can also be possible to misdiagnose a case of a pulled joint as epicondylitis, due to the area of effect of the ailment. there are, therefore, a few symptoms that have been reported and researched to signify the existence of epicondylitis. These include:
- Pain on the outer elbow that intensifies as the wrist is extended
- Tenderness on the outer elbow, causing a throbbing sensation
- Ache on the back of the hand and the forearm
- Difficulty in bending the wrist, or closing and opening the palm
- Pain in extending fingers outward
- Sharp pain caused by straightening elbow
A method used by doctors to diagnose this condition accurately is termed as the “middle finger extension test”. In this test, the patient is asked to hold his arms and fingers extended in front of them. The doctor, or the specialist, then bend the middle finger inwards. The more the pain caused in the patient’s resistance, the positive the response for the tennis elbow. Other diagnostic tests can also be run to find the area of effect of the pain and the location of the nerve and tendon damage.
Attempting to Prevent Tennis Elbow
The human body is a wondrous machine, capable of adapting and healing itself whenever required. It may require assistance, however, if the damage is beyond the repair of our internal systems. On the other hand, careful understanding of the limits of your limbs and great care might allow the body to function in a healthy way for many, many years.
Prevention is always the first step in any such case, for it is always better to resist injury than to treat it. Below are some ways that epicondylitis can be prevented.
- A thorough understanding of what tennis elbow is and what causes it.
- Using a rotation in your job to lessen the impact of repetitive work.
- Taking frequent breaks and flexing your wrist and arm at regular intervals during repetitive work.
- Using tools and other instruments that are fit for your hands. Non-ergonomic tools that are too large or too small for your hands are also what cause a strain on your arm and elbow.
The Use of Physiotherapy in the Treatment of Tennis Elbow
As is often the case with injuries that do not reveal themselves to the naked eye, it is easy to brush aside. It is important to realize, however, that these injuries are doubly dangerous because of that fact. As statistically shown to be prevalent in 1% to 3% of the population, it must not be taken lightly. Anyone who believes he might have the injury should seek expert help.
Physiotherapy has been used for the treatment of lateral epicondylitis for a very long time. As a musculoskeletal ailment, the treatment of it can be done using manual and physical therapy techniques.
The first step involves giving the arm complete rest. This means avoiding any task that might put excess strain on the injury and make the damage worse, if not permanent.
If left unchecked for a long time, an acute injury to the elbow can turn into lateral epicondylitis. Therefore, the next step is to make sure that the progression of the injury is limited. Physiotherapists here help the patient complete a series of exercises in order to regain strength in the limb.
Finally, the physiotherapy treatment allows for the rejuvenation of strength and the mobility of the am. In the Pillars of Wellness Centre, as mentioned above, top-of-the-line innovative techniques such as ultrasound, TENS, and cryotherapy, are used to treat tennis elbow. These techniques are applied by specialists and experts who know exactly how to help the body regain its ability to heal itself, with an added bit of assistance.
Do not hesitate to reach out to these experts in order to seek medical attention in the event of an injury. The sooner you allow yourself to help, the better it is for your body.