5 things you NEED to know about Tennis elbow!
1.Tennis elbow refers to the irritation of the tendon that connects to the bone on the OUTSIDE of the elbow
2.Tennis elbow generally occurs on its own (as opposed to having a mechanism like lifting something heavy) and is categorized as an 'overuse' injury
3. It causes pain on the OUTSIDE of the elbow (not to be confused with 'Golfers elbow' which causes discomfort to the tendon attaching to the bone on the inside of the elbow, pictured below)
4. Activities that require excessive gripping or bending of the wrist backwards such as typing, cutting up vegetables, painting, lifting weights and performing backhands in tennis make the pain worse.
5.Groups of people at risk of tennis elbow include people who play racquet sports, receptionists, weight lifters, painters and electricians
The 3 tests physios use to diagnose Tennis Elbow that you can also try at home
Resisted Wrist Extension Test - Place one hand on the back of the injured hand and apply downward pressure as the injured hand extends backward.
Resisted 3rd Finger Extension Test - Extend third finger backwards while physio places downward pressure onto third finger.
Squeeze Test - Shake hands with affected hand and squeeze
**All tests are positive if pain is reproduced over the bone on the outside of the elbow as pictured above.
ONE THING YOU ABSOLUTELY MUST NOT DO !
As Tennis elbow is a type of tendinitis - you must NOT stretch it as shown above! Stretching exercises increase compression of tendons which irritates them, while strengthening exercises are proven by research to be more effective in relieving pain from tendinitis'.
The Golden Formula to beating tennis elbow
- 'Isometric' strengthening exercises - Dry needling forearm muscles to reduce muscle spasm
- Soft tissue release of forearm to reduce muscle spasm
- Joint mobilizations to take pressure off the area - Supportive taping - Use of supportive tennis elbow brace (as shown below) - Activity modification to reduce volume of aggravating activities such as typing, lifting weights, playing tennis etc.
Tennis elbow braces are found to be most effective during whatever the task may be that brings on your symptoms e.g. using a screwdriver, typing or lifting weights.
Take it from someone who's been there ....
Danielle is a 46 year old mother of two who works part time in data entry. She reported a six month history of pain on the outside of the elbow which came on by itself.
She regularly enjoys social badminton whereby gripping the racket in addition to typing at work aggravated her symptoms. Danielle had two cortisone injections prior to physiotherapy which provided only temporary relief.
Following a four week bout of physiotherapy including soft tissue release and dry needling of her forearm muscles, isometric forearm strengthening exercises and modifications to her desk at work she was 100% pain free. One month after discharge Danielle reported still being pain free in addition to being able to play a full game of badminton and get through a whole day of typing without any issues.
The exercise Danielle used FIRST to reduce 80% of her pain in just TWO weeks
Place the back of your hand against a wall and motion to extend wrist backwards. Hold the position for 45 seconds and repeat three times with 1 minute rest in between. Feel the muscles burn on the outside of the elbow.