Tennis Elbow (Lateral Elbow Tendinopathy)
Lateral elbow tendinopathy (aka tennis elbow) occurs as a result of repeated gripping and / or repetitive wrist extension movements and activities.
- Wearing a tennis elbow brace is often helpful
- Load management (minimising repetitive gripping / wrist extension tasks). Essentially relative rest is the key.
- Structured strengthening program (tennis elbow will not heal itself with rest alone – the tendon must have adaptation occur to stop aggravation occurring from repetitive tasks)
- Self-massage of affected area
- Ice / analgesic medications for pain reduction is often necessary
Professional Medical Treatments
- Lengthening muscles locally that tension affected tendon or compress affected tendon. This is often through deep tissue massage or dry needling
- Taping or bracing elbow as appropriate
- Elbow mobilisation (warranted in some cases)
- Provision of tailored strength program
- Advice about activity modification to allow for structured rehab program
- Education: re types of grip to use for tools / racquet to reduce irritability
- Option for cortisone injection for more serious / irritable cases (debated opinions on effectiveness)
- Neural mobilisations if nerves are involved
- Education re: working ergonomics
Physical Therapy Exercises
- Strengthening exercises. This usually starts with wrist extension isometric exercises (dose should be tailored based on irritability). This can then be adequately progressed to eccentric and concentric exercises as appropriate.
- Postural exercises if required: often overload through tendons is a result of poor biomechanics higher up the chain. Postural strengthening may be an integral part of treatment and prevention.
- Offloading postural exercises
- Strengthening exercises for wrist and digit extensors