How Physical Therapy Helps Tennis Elbow

Lateral epicondylalgia, known by many as “tennis elbow,” is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in your elbow are overloaded. This typically happens due to repetitive motions of the arm and wrist. Playing tennis or other racquet sports can cause this condition, but it does not only affect athletes. It can also affect people who perform similar types of motion, like painters, carpenters, or plumbers. 

 

Symptoms

  • Tightness

  • Swelling

  • Pain at the front and outside of elbow that increases with turning doorknobs, cooking, opening jars, etc.

  • Painful to touch

 

Causes

The cause of tennis elbow is the repeated contraction of forearm muscles that are used to straighten and raise the hand and wrist. The stress to the tissue and the repeated motions may cause tiny tears in the tendons attaching the forearm muscles to the bony prominence at the outside of your elbow. Those tears lead to inflammation and may put stress on the rest of the arm, making lifting and gripping things feel painful. Not only can playing tennis cause tennis elbow, but so can repetitive computer mouse use, driving screws, painting, using plumbing tools, and cutting up cooking ingredients, especially meat. 

 

Risk Factors

Tennis elbow can affect people of all ages, but it is most common in adults aged 30 to 50 years old. People with occupations in which repetitive motions of the wrist and arm are frequent are more likely to develop tennis elbow. Certain sports can also put a person at risk for tennis elbow.

 

How Can Physical Therapy Help?

Tennis elbow often results in weakness including joint stiffness, changes in flexibility, loss of grip strength, and loss of range of motion. These limitations will be addressed by your physical therapist through soft tissue mobilization, joint mobilizations, manual stretching, and functional strengthening. Your physical therapist may also recommend dry needling or cold lasering to enhance healing and help with pain control. You will be provided with a home exercise program as well. 

 

Peak Physical Therapy

Our South Shore Physical Therapy practice specializes in unique health and wellness programs including a new Pelvic Health Program for men, women, and pediatrics. Locations include Norwell, MA, Scituate, MA, Quincy, MA, and Hanover, MA. Our specialized programs combined with state-of-the-art facilities allow us to meet the unique needs of our local patients and achieve the fastest results. If you are unsure whether this type of treatment can help you, we offer a no-obligation FREE injury screening. Clickhere for more information.

 

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