Tennis elbow is also known as lateral epicondylitis and is caused by tendon inflammation. Usually, it is a result of the tendons of the forearm that attach to the elbow.
Tennis elbow is usually caused by repetitive use and over use of the muscle and joint and is not limited to tennis players. It can also be a result of other sports or workplace injuries.
Do I Have Tennis Elbow?
If you’re suffering from tennis elbow, some symptoms that you may experience include pain or burning on the outside of the elbow and noticeably weaker grip strength. Typically, symptoms can develop over time and gradually worsen over weeks and months. If you suspect you have tennis elbow, there are some exercises that you can do at home, however we still recommend that you contact a physiotherapist for advice and diagnosis before attempting them on your own.
Treatment Through Physical Therapy
These five exercises can serve to strengthen muscles and tendons in the arm and to help relieve some pain from tennis elbow. If done properly, these exercises may also help to prevent tennis elbow from coming back.
- Bend your elbow at a right angle and extend your hand with the palm facing up. Twist your hand until the palm faces down slowly and gradually and hold for 5 seconds. Repeat 10 times for 3 sets. This exercise can also be performed with a small weight.
- Squeeze your fist using a stress ball or rolled up sock in the palm. Grip tightly for 10 seconds and repeat 10 times.
- Twist a towel length wise and in opposite directions as if wringing out water from the towel. Remember to keep your shoulders relaxed while you repeat this exercise 10 times.
- Flex your wrist by raising your arm in front of the body, palm facing outward. Use your other hand to ben your fingers back towards yourself slowly and gradually. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds and straighten the wrist again. Repeat three times and do three more sets of the exercise.
- Perform an elbow bend by standing straight first, lowering the affected arm to one side and slowly bending the arm upwards until the hand touches the shoulder. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds long and repeat 10 times for a full set of the exercise.
In order to prevent further injury and pain from tennis elbow, it is important to immediately stop any repetitive activities that affect the elbows. It can also be beneficial to be aware of how you are using your elbows when lifting heavy objects or undertaking large movements and manoeuvers.
As mentioned before, regularly doing the exercises listed in this article may also help to prevent tennis elbow and it’s symptoms.
Other Methods of Non-Surgical Treatment
If pain persists, your physiotherapist may recommend other methods of non-surgical treatment including:
- Resting the muscle from overuse and activity
- Icing the area
- Over the counter pain killers
- Bracing or compression
If you are still concerned about elbow or joint pain, it’s important to contact a health professional. Get in contact with our expert physiotherapists today.