I see lots of patients complaining about tennis elbow, clinically known as Lateral Epicondylitis. It often occurs after strenuous overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm, near the elbow joint.
Tennis elbow causes pain and tenderness on the outside of your elbow. You may also experience pain in your forearm and into the back of your hand. The symptoms can vary from mild discomfort to severe pain, and can have a huge effect on daily activities.
Most people experience pain on the outside of your upper forearm just above the elbow, and find it effects them most when:
- bending or lifting the arm
- writing or gripping small objects
- fully extending the arm
- twisting the forearm
So what can cause Tennis elbow?
It's not just tennis that can cause tennis elbow. It can be a whole range of activities that place repeated stress on the elbow joint, such as decorating, drilling, typing, knitting or even playing the violin!
The elbow joint is surrounded by muscles that move your elbow, wrist and fingers. The tendons in your elbow join the bones and muscles together and control the muscles of your forearm. Tennis elbow is usually caused by vibrations or overusing the muscles in this area. If the muscles and tendons are strained, tiny tears and inflammation can develop near the bony lump (the Lateral Epicondyle) on the outside of your elbow.
Massage can help!
If your elbow pain is caused by a strenuous or repetitive activity, you should try to avoid the activity until symptoms improve. Ice can also help to alleviate the symptoms, by holding a cold compress against your elbow for a few minutes several times a day.
However, to get to the route cause of the problem, massage is a great way to help relieve the pain and stiffness and improve the range of movement in your arm.
Massage encourages blood flow and nutrients to your forearm and damaged tendons. Techniques such as trigger pointing and deep tissue massage to above and below the affected joint can help speed up the recovery.
In severe or persistent cases an assessment with, a physiotherapist would be strongly recommended. They would be able to prescribe exercises to help strengthen your forearm and get things back to working order!