16 Apr Tennis Elbow – And you don’t even play tennis?
Have you suffered from a niggling pain in your elbow after repetitive arm movements?
Is it now progressing into a constant ache that’s interrupting your work or leisure?
Tennis elbow (or technically termed lateral epicondylagia) is the most common overuse syndrome in the elbow.
“Typically a work related injury, tennis elbow occurs more commonly in the dominant hand in those aged 30-50years old, with 20% of cases persisting more than 12 months”.
Still having pain even after injections and rest?
Cortisone injections are recommended for lateral elbow pain, at best this gives only temporary relief to those with acute pain (earlier stages of injury).
Keep in mind that tennis elbow is caused by gradual wear and tear within the muscle and tendon on the outside of the elbow from repetitive overuse. Cortisone injections target the inflammation around the tendon BUT do not help heal the tears WITHIN the tendon itself. In fact they can make things worse!
When you ignore your pain, you put yourself at risk of developing chronic degenerative changes within the tendon, making it much harder to treat. Reduced function and grip strength in your arm is unavoidable. Simple tasks that previously seemed effortless such as typing on your computer, picking up the kettle or turning a screwdriver are now excruciating.
So, what should you do to get lasting relief?
Seeking treatment with a physiotherapist can help identify the exact cause of your pain, rule out other issues, and design a tailored rehabilitation program to allow healing and restore strength in your elbow.
Remember that sometimes it isn’t as simple as it appears – the neck and shoulder can also cause referral pain into the elbow which also needs to be identified and addressed.
Initially your pain may be too severe to begin strengthening exercise, this is where ice and anti-inflammatories can reduce inflammation in the short term. The use of a simple brace can also help support the painful tendon and relieve tension around your elbow joint.
Once, your pain has settled, you can get started on some specific strengthening. These exercises not only strengthen the weakened tendon BUT also promote immediate pain-relieving responses – much better than Panadol!
“Physiotherapy interventions including exercise, massage and joint mobilisations have been shown to have superior lasting results than cortisone injection at 6 weeks after the onset of pain”.
If you’re someone who has been suffering from elbow pain for a while, whether you’ve already had a cortisone injection or not, we hope you understand after reading this that there is more help out there!
Book in to have a thorough assessment from one of our highly trained physiotherapists today and start your rehabilitation to reduce your pain for good.