Tennis Elbow (Lateral epicondylitis)
Tennis is played by people of all ages, as it is a sport which in general does not produce severe medical problems. Problems do occur, however, in the elbow region. Only 5% of people suffering from tennis elbow relate the injury to tennis. This injury occurs in other racket sports such as squash, badminton, and table tennis. Golfers and others can also be affected, as well as those who carry out repetitive, one-sided movements in their jobs, e.g. electricians, carpenters, needlework, knitting, gardening.
Tennis elbow is most common in tennis players 35 -50 years of age, characterized by a high activity level. It has been shown that 45% of the athletes who play tennis daily, or 20% of those who play twice a week, may at certain stages suffer from lateral elbow tendinosis. Frequency of play has a direct relationship with pain.
Tennis players who have demanding techniques and inadequate fitness levels are likely to sustain lateral elbow tendinosis. Faulty technique is one of the most common causes for lateral elbow tendinosis, especially a faulty backhand.
Symptoms and Diagnosis
- There is a history of repetitive activity or overuse, such as playing tennis intensively
- Pain mainly affects the lateral aspect of the elbow, but can also radiate upwards along the upper arm and downwards along the outside of the forearm
- A distinct tender point is elicited by pressure or percussion over the lateral epicondyle
- A positive middle finger test: there is pain over the lateral elbow when the middle finger is extended against resistance
- Weakness in the wrist can cause difficulty in carrying out such simple movements as lifting a plate or a coffee cup and opening a car door
- Correct playing and working techniques
- Sometimes a forearm brace or a heat retainer can be used
- Avoidance of asymmetrical training techniques
- Our distinctive hands-on manual therapy
- Kinesio taping
- Rest actively, that is, rest the injured area and avoid movements that trigger pain
- Apply local heat and use a heat retainer
- Stretching and strengthing exercise programme