13 Jan TENNIS ELBOW: TREATMENT AND PREVENTION
It’s January… Christmas and New Year celebrations are a distant memory, and you’re looking to kick the year off with a bang. With January comes the Australian Open, so you’ve dusted off the cobwebs from your neglected, garden-shed-dwelling tennis racket (watch out for Redbacks!!!), and this year you really ARE going to stick to your resolution of being more active. Good on you… We salute you!
Whether you are trying this for the first time, re-living the glory days, or picking back up after too much turkey and stuffing, it’s advisable to ease into things to reduce the risk of injuring an out-of-condition body. A common tennis related injury that we see at Action Rehab Hand Physiotherapy this time of year is tennis elbow treatment.
Put simply, Tennis elbow is inflammation or irritation of the tendon on the outside of your elbow joint. The repetitive wrist movements with load causes minute tearing of the tendon, and over time this may lead to swelling and pain. It is really common in the over 40’s. The problem can become chronic if the tears are not given adequate time to heal and strengthen.
You might be reading this thinking you’re not at risk because you don’t play tennis. However, Tennis Elbow doesn’t really happen to Tennis players. If you’re a typist, bricklayer, painter and decorator, carpenter, musician or tailor (as well as many others), you are also at risk of developing this condition.
So it could be that you’re trying a new gym program and you’re a bit out of condition, or it might be your technique, or maybe an imbalance somewhere along the chain from your neck to your fingers (quite possibly it is all of the above) – either way if you suspect something might be developing, or if you want to be proactive and prevent it from happening, see Action Rehab Hand Physiotherapist as soon as possible.
- Pain/tenderness on the outside of your elbow, and possibly down the forearm to the wrist
- Pain when bending the wrist backwards or forwards
- Pain when shaking hands or undoing jars, bottles or doors
- Stiffness of, or difficulty moving, the elbow
- Stiffness and/or tenderness of the neck
Firstly, see Action Rehab Physiotherapist to get a diagnosis and treatment plan, but common treatment might include:
- Cold pack / ice therapy
- Soft-tissue massage
- Strengthening exercises for the forearm
- Anti-inflammatory and/or pain medication
- A brace or taping if appropriate
- Gradual return to activity
These are examples of common treatments, but not every case will require all types. Your Action Rehab Physiotherapist will help you to understand your injury, and the best treatment plan for it.
The best thing you can do to prevent tennis elbow is to have strong core stability. As we age we tend to work in more sedentary jobs and we weaken our core stabilisers. Our elbow is a good example of that. Your Physiotherapist at Action Rehab can tech you core strengthening exercises and stretches that can treat as well as prevent Tennis Elbow. Most importantly, if you start to get pain, stop, and see your Action Rehab Physiotherapist.
Tennis elbow is common across many types of sports and jobs. If you ever have any questions or want an assessment, please come and see us – cucumber sandwich anyone…?
- Brukner & Khan’s Clinical Sports Medicine Volume 1 – Injuries (5th ed) – ISBN 978-1743761380
- OrthoInfo – AAOS – https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases–conditions/tennis-elbow-lateral-epicondylitis/