Lateral Epicondilytis (also called “tennis elbow” (TE)) is an overuse, self-limiting, and very common musculoskeletal condition affecting the lateral aspect of the elbow. It normally lasts 8-12 months without intervention.
TE is a misnamed as this condition does not affect tennis players only, but any person who performs sport and work related repetitive motions like golfers, rock climbers, carpenters, bricklayers, squash players, violinist, housewives, dentists, surgeons, computer professionals and many more.
The elbow joint is made up of three bones: the upper arm bone (humerus) and the two bones within the forearm (ulna and radius). Bony bumps at the bottom part of the humerus are referred to as the epicondyles.
The bony bump along the outside part of the elbow is known as the lateral epicondyle. Ligaments, muscles and tendons all hold the joint together.
Tennis elbow involves injury to the tendons and the muscles in the forearm. The forearm muscles work to extend the fingers and the wrist.
The forearm tendons attach the bone and the muscles together. They are attached on the lateral epicondyle. The tendon that is often involved with this condition is the extensor carpi radialis brevis.
The main clinical symptoms present in patients with TE are: tenderness to palpation of the wrist extensors (outer aspect of the elbow), restricted movements of the wrist, weak grip strength and difficulty picking up items, resisted contractions of the extensors muscles of the forearm, pain when pronating/supinating the forearm, such as turning a door handle or opening a jar.
How to treat tennis elbow:
First of all stop aggravating your arm pain, like a repetitive movement, such as mouse clicking, gripping something or playing certain sports.
Rest is very important, especially in the first weeks of the onset. Ice/heat on the outside of your elbow can reduce inflammation.
Manual therapy like Osteopathy can help to reduce pain and strengthening the muscles within the forearm. As osteopaths, we are specialised in mobilisation and manipulation, as well as soft tissue massages.
An epicondyle strap will help to rest the strained part of the muscle during the day while you continue with your daily activities.
If you are unsure if we can help you, give us a call at 020 7100 4598.