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Lateral Epicondylitis “Tennis Elbow”
Your elbow plays a major role in helping your shoulder, wrist, and arm function properly. If you have ever experienced elbow pain, you know how debilitating and painful it can be. The pain could even extend to your forearm and wrist. Physical therapy is helpful for treating lots of pain, including elbow pain. If you have been trying to treat your elbow pain yourself, and it’s not working, it’s time to see a physical therapist. Call us today and request an appointment with a physical therapist to learn how you can get rid of your elbow pain without surgery or harmful pain relief medications. Tennis elbow is one of the causes of elbow pain. Learn all about it below.
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a swelling (inflammation) or micro-tearing of the tendons in your elbow that attaches to your forearm muscles. This occurs usually as a result of overuse. This is the most common cause of elbow pain. Although it is called tennis elbow, surprisingly, only 5% of people suffering from tennis elbow relate it to tennis. Sports and other activities that require repetitive motions of your arms wrist can contribute to tennis elbow.
Know Your Elbow
Your elbow is made up of three bones. Your humerus bone (upper arm bone), and your radius and ulna (two bones in your forearm). At the bottom of your humerus, there are bony bumps called the epicondyles, to which several muscles on the forearm are attached. The bony bump on the outside of the elbow is what is called lateral epicondyles
Causes of Tennis Elbow
The main cause of lateral epicondylitis is overuse, from repetitive motions of the arm and wrist. This in turn leads to wear and tear, and weakness of the muscle over time. This is why people in sports that require the use of their arms are more prone. Activities could also cause tennis elbow. Vocational or recreational activities that use the forearm and wrists excessively can cause tennis elbow. Activities such as carpentry, painting, plumbing, typing, knitting, are risk factors that can contribute. Age is also another factor. As people get older from 40, Muscles gradually begin to wear and tear. This is higher for those in high-risk activities, and sports that require overuse of the forearm. However, there might also be no obvious cause for tennis elbow.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Usually, symptoms begin as mild and develop gradually over time. The common symptom is pain and tenderness on the tendons on your forearm that attach to the bony bump on the outside of your elbow. Other symptoms include:
Tennis elbow usually affects the dominant arm, but both arms can be affected too.
A physical therapist will ask you to perform some motions with your elbow arm and wrist, so the affected area is identified. In addition to this physical exam, imaging tests may be required. An X-ray or MRI-scan may be performed to diagnose and rule out other problems. We walk closely with your doctor to achieve this.
Treatment for Tennis Elbow
Physical therapy usually does the trick for tennis elbows. 80-95% of patients have success with this. Your physical therapist will ensure you are giving your elbow enough rest, and limiting pain-causing activities. Strength and motion exercises will also be performed so your elbow is restored to full function. Physical therapy even eliminates the need for painkillers and surgery. However, in very rare cases surgery is recommended. The damaged tendons are removed, and healthy muscles are attached back to the bone.
Relieve your Tennis Elbow Today
To recover quickly, bring strength to your elbows, and continue with everyday life activities, physical therapy is highly recommended. Even if you’ve had elbow surgery, rehab is needed after your elbow must have healed to an extent. Polygon PT offers physical therapy and rehab programs, designed to get you back to your normal life, pain-free in no distant time. As for recovery, individual cases differ, as well as the severity of the elbow pain. Some patients begin to see results a couple of weeks after therapy. But like we advise, don’t rush it. Complete recovery may happen in a couple of months to a year. Request an appointment with a physical therapist today if you have a tennis elbow or any other kind of elbow pain.