Clinically known as Lateral Epicondylitis, tennis elbow is a musculoskeletal condition which causes pain on the outside of the elbow.
It affects the lateral epicondyle of the humerus, the outer aspect of the elbow joint, and the forearm extensor tendon and muscles.
You may experience pain just below your elbow joint on the outside of your forearm.
It may be aggravated by; gripping objects, twisting activities, bending your elbow, extending your wrist or lifting.
The extensor muscles attach onto the outside of your elbow and they are responsible for extending the wrist and fingers, especially when gripping. Tennis elbow is usually caused by overuse or repetitive tasks. This can cause a strain to the muscles and tendons causing inflammation and tiny tears near the bony prominence, the lateral epicondyle.
It is not only playing tennis, which causes tennis elbow symptoms. It can be any activity putting overuse or repeated stress through the elbow joint.
When to seek help
It is not uncommon (that may) to develop tennis elbow type symptoms if you have started up a new sport or hobby as you may be using your muscles differently to what you had been used to. Your symptoms should ease the more the muscles and joint get(s) used to the new activity. Relative or complete rest from the aggravating activity may fully resolve your symptoms. If your symptoms do not improve with rest or graded activity, it is time to seek help.
A Physiotherapist or Chiropractor will fully assess your condition and, if the diagnosis of tennis elbow is confirmed, provide treatment in pain management and activity modification to prevent further reoccurrence. They will also address any muscular and/or biomechanical dysfunction, which may have led to the condition. Treatment may include strengthening and stretching programmes, specific soft tissue massage, ultrasound therapy and taping techniques. You may also require input from a Sports Therapist for some 1:1 specific graded strengthening programme or a Massage Therapist to address any muscular component.