Tennis elbow officially called lateral epicondylitis causes pain in the elbow and sometimes forearm. Tennis elbow is a type of tendinitis, or inflammation of the tendons of the outside of the elbow, that is caused from overuse and occasionally trauma. These tendons connect the muscles of your forearm and wrist to the elbow bone, more specifically the lateral epicondyle of the Humerus bone.
Tennis elbow most commonly develops with repetitive motions of the wrist and elbow that strain the muscles and tendons causing inflammation in the tissue. It is the most common reason people see their doctor for elbow pain. Recent studies show that tennis elbow is often due to damage to extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle which helps stabilize the wrist when the elbow is straight. When the ECRB is weakened from overuse, microscopic tears form in the tendon where it attaches to the lateral epicondyle, thus lateral epicondylitis.
Despite its name, many develop tennis elbow even if you've never played tennis. In fact most patients we treat at Chiropractic Care did not get it from playing racquet sports. Any repetitive gripping activities, such as frequently bending the wrist or elbow, may cause tennis elbow. It might result from sports or hobbies including painting, typing, gardening, weight lifting, and of course racquet sports. It is commonly seen in plumbers, painters and welders. It may even occur from trauma such as gripping the wheel when involved in a motor vehicle accidient.
The symptoms of tennis elbow include pain and tenderness on the outside of your elbow, more specifically, the outermost bony prominence. The pain may radiate into the upper or lower arm and is made worse when performing motions with your hands and wrists. That’s because the muscles that control your wrist and certain finger movements originate from the elbow. You may feel a burning pain or even a weakness when lifting, making a fist, gripping an object, opening a door or shaking hands.
To diagnose your tennis elbow, your doctor will do an examination. In some cases imaging tests, such as an X-ray or MRI may be ordered.
At Chiropractic Care we take a non-invasive approach to treating tennis elbow. Rest from the activity causing the issue is frequently recommended. The proper tennis elbow brace is also helpful in reducing stress to the elbow when performing activities that may aggravate the condition. Physical therapy modalities such as ultrasound to reduce inflammation and electric stimulation to promote healing are typically prescribed at our offices. Massage therapy to break up scar tissue and specific exercises and stretches may also be prescribed.