If you have pain on the outside of your elbow and into the forearm, you may be suffering from Lateral Epicondylitis, commonly known as “tennis elbow”. This is really less of a problem with the elbow and more a problem with the muscles in the forearm. There is a group of muscles that is responsible for extending the fingers and wrist called the forearm extensors. It runs all the way from the hand and inserts onto the top and outside of the elbow region. This group is particularly active in racquet sports and can become damaged (especially at its insertion on the elbow) with repetitive overuse extension of the wrist (back-hand swing): hence the name “tennis elbow”.
Tennis elbow typically affects 30 to 50 year-olds, but it is also common for younger people to acquire this issue especially those who are just beginning a racquet sport like tennis. But, it’s not just racquet sports that can cause the issue, any activity that requires repetitive or forceful extension of the wrist can damage the extensor muscles leading to tennis elbow. Sufferers of tennis elbow typically feel pain with wrist extension, point tenderness in the forearm near the outside of the elbow, and even experience weakness in the hand or wrist (for example opening a jar, turning a doorknob, or shaking hands).
I typically treat lateral epicondylitis with soft tissue techniques; ultrasound or electro stimulation; manipulation of the hand, wrist, and elbow; taping; splinting; and a series of stretches and exercises. Of course, it is wise to discontinue the inciting activity, at least temporarily. The goal of treatment is to realign the fibers of the muscles and allow it to heal, then ensure proper biomechanics through manipulation and rehab.
If you think you have tennis elbow, please do not hesitate to call us at 918-600-2969. The longer you let this problem go, the more damage and the harder it is to fix.