Lateral Elbow Pain From Tennis Elbow
Lateral elbow pain as a result of tennis elbow tends to occur in middle aged men and women, peaking in incidence around the 35-50 year old age group. The elbow affected is usually associated with dominant handedness, but it can occur in the non-dominant arm, or occur in both the right and left elbows at the same time.
Commonly tennis elbow is caused by an overload of gripping and/or lifting activities. As a condition tennis elbow can be functionally very limiting, making tasks requiring gripping objects so painful they may become almost impossible. Historically it is also a condition prone to being long lasting if left untreated, so seeing your physiotherapist and receiving treatment for lateral elbow pain sooner, rather than later is always the best management approach.
Treatment Of Lateral Elbow Pain
Physiotherapy treatment is effective in the management of both acute and chronic tennis elbow conditions. The goal of physiotherapy treatment in the management of tennis elbow is primarily to reduce pain and improve function by facilitating tissue recovery and repair.
Physiotherapy treatment for extensor tendinopathy will frequently focus on:
- The restoration of strength, motion and function around the elbow and upper limb as a whole.
- Normalisation of any altered cervical spine function and/or upper limb neurodynamics.
Physiotherapy treatment for lateral elbow pain can vary significantly depending on the stage and severity of any tendinopathy and/or any involvement or other relevant areas like the shoulder, or cervical spine. Physiotherapy is a profession and not a treatment, so what encompasses a physiotherapy session will vary from one practitioner to another. Physiotherapy treatment may include anything from manipulation of soft tissues, or joints of the cervical spine and elbow, kinesio taping, or counter force bracing options, the prescription of home exercises focusing on loading the tendon tissue, or neurodynamics of associated nerve tissue. At Sydney Physio Clinic we also regularly use shockwave therapy which is an electrotherapy device, and dry needling to good effect in the treatment of chronic lateral elbow pain.
The Use Of Tennis Elbow Supports With Extensor Tendinopathy
A tennis elbow brace can be very effective in the management of extensor tendinopathy. Often providing an immediate reduction to the pain associated with gripping and wringing activities. The brace works by dissipating the loading forces on the tendon when griping, by shifting some of the stress away from the painful/injured structures. Your physiotherapist can assist in helping you decide if a tennis elbow strap is relevant in your specific condition. But there is evidence that consistent use of a counter force type tennis elbow support is beneficial in the reduction of symptoms associated with extensor tendinopathy.
Recovery Timeframes For Tennis Elbow Pain
Left untreated extensor tendinopathy may last anywhere from 6 months – 2 years and is prone to recurrence. Physiotherapy treatment can help reduce these time frames and reduce the likelihood of sufferings repeat episodes. In some stubborn conditions, cortisone injections and Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections may be used if conservative non-invasive treatment proves unsuccessful.
Disclaimer: Sydney Physio Clinic provides this information as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific advice or assistance on Treatment Of Lateral Elbow Pain should consult his or her physiotherapist, sports medicine specialist, orthopedic surgeon or otherwise appropriately skilled practitioner.