Tennis Elbow: Dos & Don’ts
Tennis elbow or “Lateral Epicondylalgia” is a condition affecting the tendons in the elbow that attach to the muscles responsible for bending the wrist ‘back’. This tendon is located just below the bony prominence on the outside of the elbow.
It generally occurs due to repetitive wrist movements, especially when the movements are always in the same direction. Despite its name, only a small percentage of individuals with Tennis Elbow actually play tennis. Some other occupations or activities that have a higher prevalence of these injuries occurring include: mechanics, electricians and office workers.
Tendon (and ligament) injuries generally take longer to heal than some other structures in the body, such as bones and muscles. This is because they have poorer blood supply than other structures.
Because Tennis Elbow can take longer to recover from than some other injuries, there are some important Dos and DON’Ts that you must consider in order to give yourself the best chance of having a quicker and complete recovery.
1. See a Physio!!
Seeing a physiotherapist can help you understand your injury more and give you personalised advice and exercises to help you overcome your injury. Call us on 87988987 or book online: https://auappts.gensolve.com/flex
2. Rest from aggravating activity
Avoid performing activities that you know aggravate the pain too much. Generally speaking, a little bit of pain briefly is fine but if you’re in constant pain or it just hurts ‘too much’ then it’s better to rest
3. Ice 2-3 times/day
Apply an ice pack on the site of pain for 15-20 minutes 2-3 times a day. This will help reduce the pain as well as the inflammation around the area. This is especially important in the early stages of rehab.
4. Elbow brace can be helpful
An elbow brace can be helpful in order to take some load off the tendon while performing wrist movements. This should always be performed in conjunction with seeing a physio.
5. Stretching and Strengthening
As your physio will explain to you, there are several stretches and strengthening exercises that you can do to help you get back to full, pain-free function. Some quick exercises include:
Wrist flexor and extensor stretches: Bend your wrist as far forward as you can and hold this position for 30 seconds. Bend wrist backward and do the same. Repeat several times
Wrist strengthening: Place your forearm on a table with your hand hanging over the edge with a clenched fist. Push down on the fist with your other hand, while trying to bend your wrist back against it with equal force. Hold for 10-15 seconds, rest and repeat.
1. Don’t wait and see
Generally, the longer you wait to manage your injury, the longer it’ll take to get better. It doesn’t matter how long you’ve had the injury for, the best time to see a physio is NOW!!
2. Don’t perform repetitive activities
As explained, repetitive wrist movements are one of the contributing factors that can lead to tennis elbow developing. If you’re in a job or position where you need to perform repetitive wrist movements, it is very important that you take frequent rests.
3. Don’t rush to get a scan
Research has shown that even if pain-free individuals got a scan on their elbow, it’ll show similar results to people with tennis elbow. Scans are more useful for ruling out pathology. Either way, your physio will know when a scan is required.
If you have tennis elbow or any elbow pain, contact us on 02 8798 8987 and make an appointment to see one of our highly qualified Liverpool physiotherapists.