Lateral Epicondylitis – Tennis Elbow

17 May 2021

Lateral Epicondylitis – Tennis Elbow

Your elbow lets you perform many complex movements such as throwing, lifting, swinging, and hugging! You can do all this because the elbow is not a simple joint. It’s complex and as such, there are many ways that it can be injured.

Your elbow is a joint formed where three bones come together – the upper bone known as the humerus, and the ulna and radius that are located in your forearm.

Muscles are attached to bones by tendons, allowing your arm to move in different ways. Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis (epi-con-da-litis), is a type of tendinopathy or tendinosis, which means you have damage in the tendons around your elbow from overuse – inflammation, or in some cases, microtrearing.

Despite its name, you can still suffer from tennis elbow even if you’ve never been near a tennis court! In fact, any repetitive gripping activities, especially if they use the thumb and first two fingers, may contribute to tennis elbow.

So, what causes it?

Well, tennis elbow usually develops over time. Repetitive motions such as gripping a racket during a swing can strain the muscles and put too much stress on the tendons. That constant tugging can eventually cause microscopic tears in the tissue. But tennis isn’t always to blame. Many people will develop tennis elbow from weightlifting, or from Crossfit whereby gripping a barbell, a dumbbell or kettlebell causes tearing. But, it can also affect people with jobs or hobbies that require repetitive arm movements or gripping such a carpentry, typing, painting, raking and believe it or not…..knitting!The symptoms of tennis elbow include pain and tenderness in the bony prominence on the outside of your elbow. This area is where the injured tendons connect to the bone. The pain may also radiate into the upper or lower arm. Although the damage is in the elbow, it’s likely to hurt when doing things with your hands, lifting something, gripping an object, opening a door or shaking hands.The good news is that tennis elbow is limiting, that is, it will heal on its own. But in order for this to happen you need to give your elbow a break and do what you can to speed the healing process. Types of treatment that help are:

  •  ICE – reduce pain and swelling. 20 minutes every 4 hours for 2-3 days,
  •  Using an elbow strap to protect the injured tendon from further strain,
  •  Using non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (limit these as they have many side effects!),

AND most importantly………

  •  See ME for a massage and rehabilitation!