Tennis Elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is the most common cause of elbow pain in patients presenting with an elbow complaint. Despite the condition commonly being referred to as tennis elbow, tennis players only make up 10% of the patient population. In many of the cases, lateral epicondylitis is actually a tendinopathy of the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle, a muscle that extends the wrist. This tendinopathy can either be an extensor tendinosis or tendinitis, both of which respond well to conservative care. So why do people develop this outer elbow pain, what is actually happening at the elbow, and how is it managed and treated?
WHO GETS TENNIS ELBOW?
While anyone can develop lateral epicondylitis, it is more common if you are over the age of 40. Smoking, being overweight, eating an inflammatory diet, and non-normal repetitive hand extension can all lead to the development of tennis elbow. While tennis elbow is frustrating, this issue is self-limiting and the prognosis is good.
WHAT IS ACTUALLY CAUSING THE PAIN?
Tennis elbow pain is located around the lateral aspect of the elbow, is worse with wrist extension, and creates weakened grip strength and even pain while shaking hands. The main cause is overuse, which causes micro-ruptures, increased fibroblast, unstructured collagen, and notable inflammation which is accompanied by swelling, heat, and localized dull pain.
BEST WAY TO TREAT TENNIS ELBOW. STOP THE R.I.C.E.
Since lateral epicondylitis is more often than not a tendinopathy of the extensors of the wrist, one of the best ways to treat it is through eccentric loading. Eccentric loading of the wrist is when you slowly elongate the extensors, while under load, by moving the wrist into a flexed position. This will slowly help realign the collagen fibers in the tendon and thus decrease the inflammation around the area. It was commonplace in the past to utilize the R.I.C.E method, standing for Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation. We now know that complete rest and compression are not beneficial for tendinopathies or even sprain/strains!
WHAT WE CAN DO FOR YOU!
Here in the clinic we will show our patients multiple ways to progress through certain exercises that are specifically tailored to your exact issue. We will also provide chiropractic manipulations and soft tissue work as needed to be an adjunct to the problem you are dealing with. We also often use shockwave therapy for conditions like tennis elbow, as several studies showed a success rate ranging from 68% to 91% for conditions like and similar to lateral epicondylitis. So if you believe you have tennis elbow or any issues at all, come in and see us, we would love to help!
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WE CAN HELP:
If you feel like you’re having issues like this or something similar, call us today at 260-927-0581 or schedule an appointment online! There is no reason to live in pain. As always, we are here for you at ProActive Spine & Joint. Move well, live well: that’s what we want for our community and for you.