Tennis elbow is not restricted to those who play tennis. It is a condition in which tendon damage causes soreness or pain around the outside of the elbow or the lateral epicondyle. The symptoms of tennis elbow are noticeable when the palm is turned upward. Damage to the tendons in the forearm makes wrist movements and forearm rotation painful and can limit day to day activities.
Tennis elbow is considered a repetitive movement injury. The name is derived from repetitive movements that commonly occur when playing tennis. In fact, any repetitive movement from consistent turning and twisting can cause tennis elbow. Examples include working on an industrial machine, desk job, and other sports. Sometimes, tennis elbow can actually be caused by a direct blow to the tendons of the elbow area.
A physical therapist can help relieve pain and restore motion and strength to the arm, wrist, fingers, and elbow. The therapist can help with recovery as well as injury prevention and future recurrences of tennis elbow.
Your physician may recommend prescription medication to reduce pain and inflammation. The physical therapist will work closely with the physician to improve circulation, promote healing and help restore full function as quickly as possible.
Expect your physical therapist to:
Identify the movement(s) that may have actually caused your injury and help you to avoid them.
Identify weaknesses or joint restrictions and correct them.
Help reduce pain with treatment techniques and modalities like ultrasound, cold therapy.
Prescribe a home exercise program.
Exercise and physical therapy is the only long term solution to recover and prevent injury. Once your tendons have started to heal, physical therapy will help you regain strength and endurance. Your physical therapist will assist you during the rehabilitation process every step of the way. Treatment may also include cold therapy to reduce swelling, medications to reduce pain and inflammation and rest.
If you or someone you know has pain in your forearm that interferes with daily activities, physical therapy is the least invasive form of treatment. Most times a bout of therapy can decrease your pain and allow you to return to all of your everyday activities, without the need of an injection or other procedure. We will design an exercise program that is geared towards your specific needs, abilities, and goals. Don’t suffer with the constant pain and restrictions of tennis elbow anymore. You can contact us directly and we will be happy to schedule an appointment right away. Don’t forget, North Carolina is a direct access state and a referral is not required. Feel free to contact our office at any time if you have questions about this article or any other orthopedic questions @ 910-249-4040.
Dr. Daniel Skulavik, PT, DPT, OCS, is with Advanced Physical Therapy located in the Food Lion Shopping Center, Clinton.