Tennis elbow is a painful condition that occurs when tendons/muscles in your elbow are overworked, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. It results in pain on the outer side of the elbow and forearm. Pain is usually aggravated by gripping and lifting with the hand in certain positions. There may be swelling on the outside of the elbow.
Your doctor can diagnose the problem by talking with you and examining your hand. No other testing or x-rays are usually needed to diagnose Tennis Elbow.
What causes it?
Tennis elbow is an overuse and muscle strain injury. The cause is repeated contraction of the forearm muscles that you use to straighten and raise your hand and wrist (extension). The repeated motions and stress to the tissue may result in a series of tiny tears in the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the bony prominence at the outside of your elbow.
What can a doctor do to help?
- Confirm that this is the problem.
- Prescribe non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAID) or cortisone type medication.
- Perform surgery to remove the chronically irritated tissues, possibly shave down the bone, and possibly cut some of the small nerves which transmit pain signals from the area. The goal of surgery is pain relief, and there are several different operations currently performed for this problem.
What can a therapist do to help?
- Help identify aggravating activities and suggest alternative postures.
- Massage, heat, ice and other treatments aimed at making the area more comfortable, decreasing inflammation.
- Fabricate a splint to keep the wrist immobilized in order to reduce the inflammation.
- Kinesio taping
Supervise a set of progressive exercises designed to gradually strengthen and recondition the irritated muscles.
Schedule an Appointment
For an integrated approach to Occupational Therapy services, contact us on the details below.
Hands, Lymphoedema & Breast Cancer
011 475 9480
Neurological and Adult Physical Rehabilitation
060 477 9950