Tennis Elbow Treatment and Therapy
Tennis or Golfer’s elbow is something far too many people think they have to live with. Granted, it’s a nice excuse to have when your game is off, the pain can impact everyday life to the point of not being able to pick up your coffee cup or your power tools at work. but in the end you can absolutely reduce your pain and restore strength and function with the right treatment and therapy. You’ll have to come up with another reason for that awkward backhand technique.
While commonly referenced as tennis elbow, there are a variety of causes and forms of elbow pain, and thus an accurate diagnosis is essential to your rehabilitation. There are two primary forms of elbow pain to consider here.
Common Forms of Elbow Pain
Extensor Tendinopathy (Tennis Elbow)
This is the medical term for what you know as tennis (lateral) elbow pain. While you feel it in your elbow, the muscles that are directly involved in causing it are the ones connected in with wrist extension, and the injury is thus a result of overuse of the wrist in one’s sport or workplace activity. Over a significant period of time, degenerative changes may result in micro-tears and scarring within the tendon. The consequence is pain and discomfort anytime you significantly extend your wrist or grip your hand as the wrist extensors & flexors contract together to stabilize the wrist. The pain is heightened when you use a racquet because the long handle intensifies the volume of force on the wrist, and subsequently the elbow (ergo the name tennis elbow).
Flexor Tendinopathy (Golfer’s Elbow)
Casually known as golfer’s elbow, some may misdiagnose it as tennis elbow. What’s the difference? Flexor tendinopathy comes from the inflammation and degeneration of tendons on the inside of the elbow, resulting in pain in that direct region in addition to being felt along the underside of the forearm. The injured tendons are part of the flexor muscles that govern movements of the wrist, hands, and fingers, which is why it commonly afflicts avid golfers or anyone using gripping, pulling, grabbing or lifting for work or sport.
Flexor tendinopathy is often more manageable than its extensor “evil twin” because there are periods of the day it feels normal & functions fine making you fell that the condition has resolved. However, by going untreated, it will get gradually worse (with continued activity) and can return with more vigor in the months and years ahead. We can address it for you so that treatment and therapy can nip it in the bud.