Tennis Elbow OR Lateral Epicondylitis Treatment Sioux City
Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow) Treatment
Tennis elbow, or as Lateral Epicondylitis as it’s technically known, is an elbow injury resulting from isolated trauma to, or excessive exertion of, the arms and forearms. Over time, the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle—that is, a part of the humerus the outer part of the elbow—become stressed, which can lead to pain there and radiating up to the wrist.
Muscles involved in the everyday motions of extending your wrist, twisting your hand, or gripping all attach to the lateral epicondyle. When you have tennis elbow, you’ll eventually experience sharp pain when shaking hands, turning a doorknob, or lifting a gallon of milk. Sports that involve swinging a bat or racquet can increase the strain on this area, hence its name.
Lateral Epicondylitis is a common condition among tennis players, weightlifters, or anyone involved in continuous arm and hand work. Some people develop acute symptoms after a weekend of increased activity, such as yardwork or home-improvement projects.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Although tennis elbow refers specifically to elbow pain, the term is often associated with achiness in the arms, as well as other symptoms:
- Pain on the outer area of the elbow that may extend up or down the arms
- Discomfort with wrist movements
- Discomfort when extending the forearm
- Pain when squeezing objects
- Inability to firmly grasp or hold objects
The pain usually begins as tightness and stiffness in the forearms. It then progresses to dull pain and muscle tightness. Sharp pain is felt during specific activities that requiring flexing the affected muscles. This pain can sometimes be severe and limiting.
Causes of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is very commonly the result of chronic repetitive movements. The strain on the muscles is increased with repetition or with an increased weight load. The volume of repeated activity overwhelms the muscles and tendons, leading to tendinitis. People often ignore feelings of mild pain and discomfort in order to continue with their activities, which can worsen the condition.
There are several common causes of tennis elbow, including:
- Weaving or knitting
- Lifting heavy items
- Turning a screwdriver
Most people are surprised that these activities can cause elbow pain, but they all involve repetitive motions of the wrist and elbow. Some are more demanding than others, but it’s the volume of activity that leads to the injury. Eventually the affected area has undergone several cycles of injury and aggravations, producing a very tender, swollen and painful elbow.
Treatment for Tennis Elbow
Mild cases of tennis elbow can heal on their own with a little home therapy, such as resting the arms until the pain subsides, wearing a brace to decrease the daily strain and damage to muscles and tendons, and icing the elbow for fifteen minutes at a time to reduce pain and swelling.
However, in the case of moderate to severe strains to the muscles and tendons, recovery might take up to six to ten weeks of treatment. More involved treatments involve elbow exercises and stretches, NSAIDs (that is, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), or cortisone injections from a primary-care physician.
Additionally, active in-office chiropractic and physical therapy treatments include the application of electricity, heat and ice; stretching and exercises; ultrasound; cold laser; the Graston Technique; ART; ASTYM; or massage or manual therapy.
The main goal of treatment is to decrease the muscle spasms in the forearm. Severe and chronic injuries respond to Graston and massage therapy treatments. Combining these treatments with traditional therapies speed healing and recovery.
Pain and tenderness at the lateral epicondyle, along with pain with resisted wrist flexion, indicates lateral epicondylitis without MRIs or X-rays. MRIs are usually not needed, as the condition can be easily diagnosed through examination. X-rays provide little information on muscle and tendon injuries, though they may be performed in the cause of trauma, to evaluate possible bone fractures.
Lateral epicondylitis can sometimes be confused with medial epicondylitis or cubital tunnel syndrome. It often occurs frequently in people who have supraspinatus tendinitis, bicep tendinitis, or wrist sprains.
Our office strives to provide quality treatment for your elbow pain. We combine the best treatments to effectively and efficiently treat your elbow pain. More information on treatment can be found on our elbow treatment page.