Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is an extremely common injury that originally got its name because its frequent occurrence among tennis players.
Nevertheless, it also manifests in a vast number of people who do not play tennis at all. Lateral epicondylitis occurs most commonly in the tendon of the extensor Carpi radials brevis muscle at approximately 2cm below the outer edge of the elbow joint or lateral epicondyle of the humerus bone. This is thought to correspond to micro-tearing of the tendon. Specific inflammation is rarely present in the tendon but there is an increase in pain receptors in the area making the region extremely tender.
Tennis elbow is often caused by overuse or repetitive strain caused by repeated extension (bending back) of the wrist against resistance. This may be from activities such as tennis, badminton or squash but is also common after periods of excessive wrist use in day-to-day life. Repetitive activities such as using a screwdriver, painting or typing are common causes of tennis elbow. Any action which places a repetitive and prolonged strain on the forearm muscles, coupled with inadequate rest, tends to strain and overwork those muscles.
There are also many other causes, like a direct injury, such as a bump or fall onto the elbow. Poor technique contributes to the condition, such as using ill-fitted equipment, like tennis racquets, golf clubs, work tools, etc. Poor levels of general fitness and conditioning also contribute.
Pain is the most common and obvious symptom associated with tennis elbow. Pain is most often experienced on the outside of e upper forearm, but can also be experienced anywhere from the elbow joint to the wrist. Weakness, stiffness and a general restriction of movement are also quite common in sufferers of tennis elbow. Even tingling and numbness can be experienced.
Tennis elbow is a soft tissue injury of the muscles and tendons around the elbow joint, and therefore it should be treated like any other soft tissue injury. Immediately following an injury, or at the onset of pain, the R.I.C.E.R. regime should be employed. This involves Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation, and Referral to an appropriate professional for an accurate diagnosis.
It is critical that the R.I.C.E.R. regime be implemented for at least the first 48 to 72 hours. Doing this will give you the best possible chance of a complete and full recovery.
The next phase of treatment (after the first 48 to 72 hours) involves a number of physiotherapy techniques. The application of ULTRASOUND THERAPY, TENS, and LASER THERAPY is one of the most effective treatments for removing scar tissue and speeding up the healing process of the muscles and tendon. Elbow should be supported with tennis elbow band with pressure pad which help reliving pressure on affected area.
Once most of the pain has been reduced, it is time to move onto the rehabilitation phase of your treatment. The main aim of this phases it to regain the strength, power, endurance and flexibility of the muscle and tendons that have been injured. There are various techniques like Muscle Energy Technique, Mulligan Technique and Tapping Technique which work wonders on tennis elbow but this treatment should be done by a qualified physiotherapist only.