Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylosis is a break down of the wrist extensor tendon where it attaches to the outside of the elbow. Ironically the condition is usually not a result of playing tennis. Any activity that involves repetitive use of the muscles in the top of the forearm may lead to micro tears of the tendon at its attachment to the elbow, resulting in a tennis elbow injury. Nerve root irritation from the neck can often contribute to the pain presentation in the forearm. No special tests are needed for diagnosis of the tennis elbow, a thorough history and physical examination should be adequate.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
- Pain is increased with activities that require contraction of the forearm muscles.
- These activities include: shaking hands, turning a doorknob, picking up objects with the palm facing down and a backhand in tennis.
- When there is involvement of the nerves running from the neck into the arm, pain may be felt radiating down into the forearm.
- Avoiding aggravating activities is the first step in allowing tissue to settle when suffering from a tennis elbow injury.
- Use of a counterforce brace can help in taking the load off the injured area.
- The next phase of intervention involves strengthening the damaged tissue.
- Physiotherapy and prescription of exercises to load the tendon has been shown to be effective in building strength in the damaged tendon.
- Return to activity should be done gradually to ensure that the tissue that is still healing is not overloaded.