Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is a painful overuse injury that affects the lateral (outer) elbow and develops gradually over time. The affected soft tissues involved in tennis elbow are the forearm extensor muscle group and the common extensor tendon. The forearm extensor muscle group travels from the back of the wrist and joins at the common extensor tendon. Via the common extensor tendon the group attaches to the bony bump on the outside of the elbow called the lateral epicondyle.
The repetitive contracting of the forearm muscles during hand and forearm activities can shorten and contract the extensor muscles causing strain and micro tears in the common extensor tendon. The strain and micro tearing of the tendon eventually develops into pain and swelling at the site of attachment on the outer elbow.
Individuals that suffer from tennis elbow will often experience tenderness and pain on the common extensor tendon, which can radiate from the outside of the elbow down the forearm to the wrist. Some may also develop pain and weakness when opening jars, using a screwdriver, playing racket sports, shaking hands and gripping objects.
Despite its name tennis elbow more often than not affects people who do not play tennis. Those most at risk for this condition are those whose jobs or activities involve repetitive use of the hands and forearms such as: carpenters, plumbers, crossfitters, office and construction workers.
Like all forms of Tendinopathies, tennis elbow does respond treatment, however the most effective way to treat it is through prevention. Below are 3 tips to help prevent tennis elbow.
Perform a pre-activity or pre-work warm up
Before performing work or sports related activities take a few minutes to warm the muscles of hands, forearm, upper arms and shoulders.
Develop a daily stretching routine that targets the muscles of the hands, forearms, upper arms and shoulders.
Take days off from activities that can aggravate the condition. If you perform repetitive tasks at work try to avoid these tasks and other repetitive tasks on your days off.
If your tennis elbow pain continues to get worse book a session with one of our Acupuncturists. Acupuncture is a great way to help relieve tennis elbow pain by helping clearing local inflammation and easing the strain placed on the common extensor tendon by overly tight extensor forearm muscles.
To book an appointment or a free 15 minute assessment please click here
Registered Acupuncturist & Chinese Medicine Herbalist