Tennis Elbow (medial epicondylitis)
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a term that describes soreness and/ or pain located on the outer side of the elbow (lateral epicondyle). It is a tendon injury due to overuse or repetitive stress.
The tendon affected gives rise to five forearm muscles that control wrist and finger extension.
The Causes of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is common among tennis players, yet many other activities may lead to tennis elbow also.
Frequent twisting movements of the hand, wrist and forearm are common causes of tennis elbow. Examples are activities like using a screwdriver, using a can opener, or playing racquet sports.
A sudden, unexpected force is another common cause. An example is hitting the ball at the wrong timing.
Who is at a Greater Risk?
People who are aged between 40-60 years old, and people who often involve in the activities above.
Signs/ Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
-Pain at outer elbow, increases with movement
-Stiffness of elbow
-Decreased elbow and hand movement
-Difficulty holding onto, gripping or pitching objects
-Reduced forearm function and strength
Diagnosis of Tennis Elbow
Diagnosis of tennis elbow is usually based on the history of elbow problem and physical exam.
PT Treatment of Tennis Elbow
There are often three phases:
Goal: Reduce pain and inflammation
Protection- Stop irritating activities, wear elbow splint if suggested
Goal: Improve muscle flexibility, strength and physical function
At stage 2, exercise is an important part of the rehabilitation program
Warm up exercises
1. Thumb and finger opposition (repeat 20 times)
2. Wrist circles (repeated 20 times)
3. Hand flips (repeat 20 times)
1. Wrist extension using weight
2. Wrist flexion using weight
3. Forearm pronation/ supination
For strengthening exercises, 10 reps, 3-5 times per day, increase repetition to 20 when it feels easy.
1. Straighten elbow during stretch
(Stretches should be held for 20-30 seconds and repeated 5-10 times)
Goals: further improve muscular strength and endurance, and to return to prior level of sports or activities.
-Progressive exercises and return to work/ play.
If there is any question, please contact our physical therapist.