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  • Writer's pictureRipon Physio Co.

Understanding Tennis Elbow and the Vital Role of Physiotherapy

This article will discuss what is tennis elbow, who gets it and how to get rid of that pain!

Tennis elbow might sound like a condition only athletes suffer from, but in reality is that it can affect anyone who engages in repetitive arm movements (strimming the hedges, cutting the grass!). Whether you're an office worker, a DIY person, or a sportswoman/man, tennis elbow can sneak into your life and cause discomfort.

Carrying those groceries causing pain?

The good news is that physiotherapy offers a ray of hope, providing not just relief from the pain but also a path to recovery.

What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow, (medically known as lateral epicondylitis), is a painful condition that primarily affects the outer part of the elbow.

Despite its name, you don't need to be a tennis player to develop it.

The condition arises when the tendons that attach to the outer bony prominence of the elbow become inflamed or damaged. This inflammation is usually a result of repetitive motion and overuse of the forearm muscles and tendons.

Why Does Tennis Elbow Happen?

Imagine all the activities that involve gripping, twisting, and lifting: opening jars, typing on a keyboard, using tools, or yes, playing tennis. These actions strain the forearm muscles and tendons, causing small tears or irritation.

Over time, this wear and tear can lead to pain, stiffness, and a weakened grip. The condition can be aggravated by improper technique, inadequate warm-up, or using incorrect equipment.

The Role of Physiotherapy in Tennis Elbow
Enter physiotherapy, your ally in the battle against tennis elbow. Here's why it's not just important but crucial in managing and overcoming this condition.

1. Accurate Diagnosis
Before developing a plan of action, physiotherapists diagnose the severity of your tennis elbow. This assessment involves evaluating your pain level, mobility, and muscle strength.

This clarity in diagnosis ensures that the treatment plan is tailored precisely to your needs.

2. Pain Management
The hallmark of tennis elbow is pain, often radiating from the outer elbow down the forearm. Physiotherapists employ various techniques to manage and alleviate this pain. Manual therapy involves hands-on techniques to mobilise the affected muscles and tendons.

3. Restoring Mobility and Flexibility
Tennis elbow can restrict your movement, making even simple tasks a challenge. Physiotherapists use a range of exercises and stretches to gradually restore your mobility and flexibility. These exercises target the forearm muscles and tendons, helping them heal while enhancing your range of motion.

4. Strengthening Exercises
Weak forearm muscles contribute to the strain on the tendons, exacerbating the condition. Physiotherapists design strengthening exercises that gradually build up the muscle strength, taking the load off the inflamed tendons. These exercises are tailored to your current fitness level and progress as your condition improves.

5. Technique Correction
Sometimes, the way we perform certain actions contributes to the problem. Whether it's the way you grip a tool or swing a racket, improper technique can strain the tendons. A physiotherapist can analyze your movement patterns and provide guidance on proper form, preventing further strain.

6. Preventing Recurrence
Physiotherapy doesn't just focus on the present; it's also about the future. Physiotherapists equip you with knowledge and strategies to prevent tennis elbow from rearing its head again. This can involve lifestyle modifications, exercise routines, and ergonomic adjustments in your daily activities.

Tennis elbow might seem like an inconvenience, but it's an issue that warrants attention. Ignoring the pain or hoping it will magically disappear can lead to further complications and extended discomfort. This is where physiotherapy steps in as a beacon of hope. It's not just about pain relief; it's about taking charge of your health and well-being. Through accurate diagnosis, personalised treatment plans, pain management techniques, and comprehensive guidance, physiotherapy can be the key to reclaiming your life from the clutches of tennis elbow. So, if you're grappling with that persistent elbow pain, remember that help is at hand. Send us an email and we can help you out of pain!

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