Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a very common condition characterised by pain on the outside of your elbow joint, where the tendons from your fingers and wrist attach. You might feel the pain right on the ‘bump’ of your elbow, or within 2cm from the joint line.
How do I have tennis elbow, I don’t play tennis?
This is a question frequently asked! The answer is because the injury is typically caused by overuse. So we actually commonly see this in professions such as tradies – eg using a hammer puts a lot of stress on these tendons. Desk workers are also frequent flyers due to the use of a mouse or even grabbing a lot of files or books. Because the injury does progress it is essential to get your elbow assessed and treated before the injury becomes chronic.
Other common ways of causing overuse injury
Trades/on tools weighing even just 1kg Gardening – in particular hedge trimmers and shears Video games – holding a controller or mouse Musical instruments – common in guitar players and piano players Drivers – Gripping the steering wheel
Signs and symptoms
Pain is generally felt where the tendons connect to the epicondyle – or the point of the elbow on the outside Can be sore to start sport/activity and then get better with exercise in the early stages of the injury, this however generally progresses to being sore constantly, aggravating the injury the longer the problem exists As the injury progresses you’ll begin to notice the pain with daily activities – grabbing a mug, carrying the shopping, even putting on a jumper can aggravate the pain. Weak grip strength Usually one sided – but can be bilateral.
Because this is a tendon injury it can be temperamental in its recovery. If treated in the early stages, excellent results can be seen in between 2-3 weeks.
If the problem has been progressing for months or years, recovery can take closer to 2 months or even longer
Soft tissue therapies Stretching and mobilisation Manipulation Joint therapy Remedial massage