The therapy for tennis elbow requires a patient who is actively involved in their care as well as the skill of the therapist they are working with. Many studies and many different treatment methods have been dedicated to the therapy of tennis elbow. Here is what we know.
Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, in an injury to the outside of your elbow. This area of the arm is where the muscles that lift up your wrist and fingers begin. When these muscles come together near your elbow they form a common tendon and attach onto the bump that you can feel on the outside of your elbow (called the lateral epicondyle). The position of the elbow, the forearm, the wrist and the hand can all put different amounts of stress and strain onto the outside of the elbow.
Patients with tennis elbow will feel pain when someone pushes on the outside of their elbow. They often describe a sharp or burning type of pain on their outer elbow. The pain usually stays just in the elbow but when the injury is getting worse the pain can start to spread up the arm, down the forearm or around the back of the elbow to the inside part. Muscles around the elbow can tighten up, pain can increase both in how often you feel it and how strong it is, and the ability for you to use your arm will go down.
Therapy for tennis elbow is very individual….one size does not fit all. Our first goal is educate you on your injury and start thinking through ways you might adjust how you’re using your arm to reduce symptoms. Our next goal is to reduce pain, swelling and to regain any lost movement of your elbow, wrist and hand. Our final step is to build back up your arm strength to get you back into doing the things you want to in life. We do all things through educating you about your injury. By showing you home exercises. By using special techniques and equipment in our clinics.
Finally, you should start as early as you feel the symptoms. Don’t wait!! A common thing that patients say is, “I thought it would go away on its own” so they wait to come in. By that time the injury has gotten worse and your body’s ability to heal it has gone down. Once this happens it takes much longer for healing to happen and you’ve missed out on doing the things that you want to do in your life during that time.