Tennis elbow

Fact Sheets

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow usually presents as pain over elbow region. Usually felt on the outside edge and is locally tender when you touch it. It happens when the tendons of muscles in the forearm become irritated and inflamed. Tennis Elbow usually happens due to any overuse syndromes related to wrist extension (bringing your wrist and fingers backward). This action is common in tennis and the weight of the racket makes it worse – but you don’t have to play tennis to get tennis elbow, many activities can cause this.

Tennis elbow is seen commonly in hairdressers, incorrect or overuse of weights, excessive computer use, repetitive manual work (eg: check-out operators) etc

What are the symptoms?

  • Ranges from minor irritation to severe pain
  • Pain often radiates into the back of the forearm
  • Can be acute or slow onset
  • Pain worsens with wrist and finger extension (bringing the wrist and fingers backwards), gripping and general use of hand and wrist

What to do

  • See your Osteopath or Physiotherapist to have a proper examination and diagnosis of the pain. There are many causes of pain around the elbow. Correct diagnosis will allow for correct treatment. Incorrect diagnosis and doing the wrong stretches for example can cause further irritation.
  • Rest from the irritating activity (if you know what it is) and apply ice to the region.
  • Your Osteopath or Physiotherapist will probably apply gentle techniques to muscles in the forearm and surrounding areas that are associated with and or contributing to the problem.
  • We will give you instructions on how to safely care for the injury and how to do rehabilitation exercises at every stage of the healing through to complete recovery and help to prevent re-occurrence.
  • Your therapist may suggest changes to your training if this has been the cause or the way you do daily activities that have contributed to the problem.
  • Take further measures to reduce inflammation ice or anti-inflammatory which should only be taken under direction and supervision of a healthcare professional.

What not to do

  • Do not apply heat to the region.
  • Do not self prescribe exercises or stretches as these may irritate the problem.
  • Don’t apply deep heat creams or massage yourself.
  • Don’t attempt to continue with the activity or sport that caused the injury.

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