by Ginny Rieger
Tennis elbow is a common condition for many people. Also known as lateral epicondylitis (say that three times fast!), tennis elbow is a painful condition that occurs when tendons in the elbow are overloaded, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm.
The pain of tennis elbow occurs primarily where the tendons of the forearm muscles attach to a bony bump (the lateral epicondyle) on the outside of the elbow. People with tennis elbow are usually very tender to touch at the bone, and also report pain into the forearm and wrist. Often, people have difficulty gripping items, making a fist, opening doors and driving, and frequently have achy pain when trying to sleep. Many of my patients tell me they just drop everything they try to hold.
Athletes aren’t the only people who develop tennis elbow. This condition is most often caused by repetitive movement, so people who play any racquet sport, musicians, manual laborers, sewers, people who lift heavy weights, and people who do a lot of computer work are also likely to develop tennis elbow.
There is a closely associated condition called golfer’s elbow or medial epicondylitis, which results in pain at the inner elbow syndrome.
How to treat tennis elbow
What works the best for overuse conditions such as tennis elbow, are rest, anti-inflammatories, and avoiding painful movements. However, most people have a very hard time NOT using their arm, which only continues to exacerbate the condition. THERAPY CAN HELP!! People who come to therapy often have complete resolution of the condition, and have a toolbox full of things to do if it should recur! If you have elbow pain, or know someone who does, come see me and let me help!! You do NOT have to suffer!!
Ginny Rieger, is an occupational therapist and certified hand therapist. She has practiced for over 20 years and is an expert on upper extremity pain and injuries.