10 things you didn’t know about Tennis Elbow
- The condition was initially described in 1873. The name “lawn tennis elbow” first came into use for the condition in 1882.
- Around 2 % of the population aged 30-50 will present with these symptoms.
- It is not just tennis players, Tennis Elbow is also known as Lateral Epicondylitis or Lateral Elbow Tendinopathy
- Our lateral elbow anatomy is made up of a number of components, the key component we have to assess when looking at Tennis elbow is our common wrist extensors. They create a broad tendon that inserts on the outside of the lower part of the humerus.
- In most cases the tissues become aggravated with repetitive overuse, so it is important to consider your daily tasks if you have elbow pain. A slight adjustment to desk set up or manual tasks can help significantly. There are a number of difference treatment options available to help improve the symptoms, the most effective is to modify the loading through the tissue and gradually rebuild strength and endurance, this will help to regain strength and ultimately regain function. In conjunction with a rehabilitation programme, other treatments such as acupuncture, dry needling, or shockwave therapy can be effective if the symptoms are more chronic in nature. (symptoms present for more than 3 months)
- It’s not just the elbow that needs to be assessed, often symptoms presenting around the elbow can be referred from higher up such as the neck or shoulder.
- Use of clasps or taping can help in short term. When a tissue is very irritated, taping to the muscles or the use of a clasp to help offload the muscles and give them some assistance to function can make a difference.
- Rehab should involve return to functional movements to avoid overload
- You probably won’t need surgery. In most cases rehabilitation and treatment within the clinic is an effective way to manage and resolve the symptoms, however it is important to remember than when the symptoms are settling we shouldn’t stop our rehab and strengthening exercises. The more strength we have the more robust our tendons will become and this will help to reduce the risk of symptom recurrence.
- In most cases the symptoms are temporary
Scott McCreadie, Senior Physiotherapist, BSc, MISCP