Tennis Elbow (lateral epicondylitis)
What is it?
Tennis elbow is a condition where the tendons on the outside aspect of the elbow are overloaded causing injury and pain. There are degenerative changes of the connective tissue rather than inflammation.
Mechanism of injury
Tennis elbow is an overuse injury caused by activities that involve repetitive contractions of the forearm muscles. The repeated movement causes increase stress to the tendons which may result in micro tears. As the name suggests tennis players are more at risk to get tennis elbow however other professions with repetitive arm motion such as plumbers, mechanics and chefs are also prone to the injury.
Pain of forearm when
- gripping an object
- opening a jar
- turning a doorknob
How do you treat it?
Research has shown mobilisation with movement (MWM) combine with exercise has effective to treat tennis elbow. Four exercises to focus on: Video Link
- Painfree putty grip
- forearm extensors
- Supination – pronation
- radial and ulnar deviation
Steroid injection has shown to be effective to reduce pain and improve function at 6 weeks but have a higher reoccurrence rate and poorer outcome compared to exercise in the long term
- Bisset L., Beller E., Gwendolen J., Brooks P., Darnell R., Vicenzino B. (2006) Mobilisation with movement and exercise, corticosteroid injection, or wait and see for tennis elbow: randomised trial
- Vicenzino B. (2003) Lateral epicondylalgia: a musculoskeletal physiotherapy perspective