What is Tennis Elbow? (Lateral Epicondylitis)

by Mar 7, 2018Injuries

What causes Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is not exclusive to tennis players, it is an overuse injury that causes radiating pain from the elbow to forearm as well as reduced grip strength. Patients usually experience insidious onset and gradual progression of the pain and weakness. The pain also varies in each patient from an intermittent ache to constant severe sharp pain. Studies show that lateral epicondylitis is often due to damage to a specific forearm muscle. The extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle helps stabilize the wrist when the elbow is straight. When the extensor carpi radialis brevis is weakened from overuse, microscopic tears form in the tendon where it attaches to the lateral epicondyle, a bony bump on the elbow. This leads to inflammation, pain and reduced grip strength in the forearm.

What is the Treatment?

Lateral epicondylitis can be treated successfully with non operative measures which include rest, non steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, bracing, and physiotherapy. Physiotherapists will help reduce pain and treat lateral epicondylitis through manual manipulation, mobility exercises and strengthening exercises. Treatment from a physiotherapist might also include ice, ultrasound, massage, or muscle-stimulation techniques including IMS/Dry Needling.

Who is Affected?

Lateral epicondylitis is more common in adults age 30-50. Tennis players, office workers, electricians, plumbers or any individuals who does repetitive motions with their hands and forearm with improper form are more at risk for this injury.If you are in pain and think you may have lateral epicondylitis, or have a history of  lateral epicondylitis come on in to see one of our physiotherapists.