Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a common chronic condition of the extensor muscles of the forearm. It is characterised by pain in the region is where wrist extensor muscles originate (pulling the knuckles up). The most common cause of this condition is chronic one-sided overload from a high volume of repeated contraction which stresses the tendon.
Most patients seen with tennis elbow have manual jobs such as electricians, plumbers, gardeners and production operatives which involve repeated heavy lifting, tool use, gripping & pulling actions. Although it is commonly referred to as tennis elbow, the prevalence in tennis athletes is <5% and has been reported with other racket sports, swimming and throwing sports. The highest prevalence is those aged 35-50 with no significant differences between sexes.
Predisposing activities and occupations involving repeated wrist extension expose the elbow tendons to excessive strain which the body cannot adapt to which causes ineffective healing and pain. Despite being referred to as epicondylitis and ‘itis’ pertaining to inflammation, the current evidence suggests that this is only present in the very immediate stages of the condition.
At Pure Physiotherapy, your therapist will take a full history of your condition to identify relevant factors which may indicate a diagnosis of lateral epicondylalgia. Next, your Physio at Pure will perform a full physical examination to rule out conditions which may be linked to your symptoms or to confirm your diagnosis.
Following your assessment and the confirmation of diagnosis, your Physio at Pure will take you through some strengthening exercises which will help address the underlying issues coupled with education and guidance on how to effectively manage your symptoms. Some of the exercises you may be given are located below and on our YouTube channel where you’ll find numerous videos of exercises and stretches that we recommend for various conditions.
In some instances, your Physiotherapist at Pure may implement taping methods or recommend a brace to help ease your discomfort and offload the affected tendon.