Tennis elbow is a term used to describe pain or tenderness in the forearm; surprisingly you don’t have to be a tennis player to get it! This condition is an overuse or chronic injury resulting from repetitive movements such as gripping or twisting. This overloads the muscles in the forearm and leads to inflammation of the tendon which causes the discomfort and pain. 
It got the name Tennis elbow because, you guessed it, tennis players are prime candidates to get it because they constantly grip their tennis racket. It’s not exclusive to racket sports however, it is a very common condition we deal with all the time in our clinics. People who work at computers are also susceptible to tennis elbow due to using a mouse all day at work. 

What Causes Tennis Elbow? 

Repetitive activities that require a lot of gripping or twisting. This could be gardening, DIY, daily mouse use at work, typing in the incorrect position, tradespeople like plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, there have even been piano players with tennis elbow, and of course racket sports. 

How to prevent it 

As this sort of injury is a common occurrence from lack of warm up, increased workload, and poor form, the first thing to do is to take measures to prevent it in the first place. A good warm up routine which includes dynamic and static stretches, starting with an acceptable workload and pace for the body to adjust in time, and decreasing the workload if pain is starting to present are all good ideas. Learning correct form and an elbow sleeve for a level of support and protection are also sensible choices. 

What are the symptoms? 

You’ll feel pain or discomfort on the outside of your upper forearm, just below your elbow. You may find that it also travels down your forearm towards your wrist. Simple movements like the below may trigger it to hurt; 
lifting or bending your arm 
writing or gripping small objects; when holding a pen 
twisting your forearm; turning a door handle or opening a jar 
fully extending your arm 
The pain can be mild to severe, depending on how long it has been going on and if you can rest from what’s causing it. 

How do you treat it? 

We would suggest a combination of sports massage, taping, exercises, and rest from activities that cause the pain if possible. Of course, you might not be able to rest from work in which case the sports massage becomes even more important to allow the muscles to relax. 
We have had great success treating tennis elbow using our 3 Treatment Rule - 3 sessions close together, ideally weekly or less, combined with a home exercise programme. The sessions being close together teaches the muscles relax and not go back to their current state of chronic tension that is causing the pain. 

Can I do anything? 

Here are some exercises we would recommend you try at home if you are suffering with tennis elbow. However, we recommend you book in to see a therapist if your pain has been there a long time or it is very painful. 
If you think you might be suffering from tennis elbow, please contact us to discuss a treatment and rehabilitation plan. 
Tagged as: injury, joints, Pain
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