Tennis Elbow

| July 13, 2016 | 0 Comments

Tennis Elbow   What is Tennis Elbow? ‘Tennis elbow’ is a form of tendinopathy (injury to a tendon) and is medically termed ‘lateral epicondylitis’. Although it is a common injury or ailment for a tennis player, it may also effect carpenters, desk workers and gym junkies. It is caused by repetitive wrist extension (bending the wrist backwards), which is often required when holding a racket. This leads to an overload through the common forearm extensors’ tendons, which are located on the outer side of the elbow, causing pain in the region.   Tennis elbow may be acute (you have had it for a short time) or chronic (a long term issue). For acute tennis elbow, soft tissue techniques and massage and stretching techniques like muscle energy technique, may be used. Articulation and mobilisation of the shoulder, elbow, hand and wrist joints, can also be applied to the upper arm and forearms. Anti-inflammatory medication and icing the area may also help to relieve a players symptoms and get on top of the injury.   Chronic tennis elbow can be a little more troublesome as it is generally an indication that there is some damage, like microscopic tearing or fraying to the tendon and that it has lost some of its elastic qualities. As well as the manual therapy used in an acute injury, bracing or strapping the forearm just below the elbow may also prove useful. This helps to support the elbow and reduces the pressure placed on the tendon during every day activities; making resting easier.   tennis elbow   How to avoid tennis elbow all together? By stretching and strengthening your forearm muscles. To stretch these muscles, either bring the hand backwards or forwards with gentle overpressure from the other hand to increase the stretch. Hold for 30 seconds and repeat twice. This can be done throughout the day. However, if an athlete already has tennis elbow this should be cautioned as it may lead to further aggravation of the tendons. To strengthen the muscles, use a can (like a can of beans from the pantry) or a light dumbbell. For the extensors, have the forearm resting on a solid, supporting surface, palm facing down and pull the wrist back. For flexors, have the palm upwards and pull the palm towards yourself. This can be done daily, aiming for 8-12 repetitions over 2-3 sets. Athletes may also find benefit in strengthen the forearm supinators and pronators (rotators of the wrist) and the muscle responsible for sideways motion. This is done in a similar way to above; using a light weight and taking the hand through this range of motion.   Regular osteopathic treatment may also help tennis players. This will ensure that the muscles of the elbow and forearm are relaxed and at an optimal length. Osteopath’s look at the body as a whole and observe how each joint is functioning on its own and as part of a complex, such as the upper limb for tennis elbow. As part of this treatment the surrounding joints, including the neck, shoulder, wrist and hand will be addressed to ensure that no undue force or pressure is placed upon the elbow and that the player has full use and range of motion of the body.     Article provided by: Christine Fraser Osteopath Health Creation Centre Ocean Grove Ph: 5255 3411

Filed Under: Injuries / Recovery

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