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Tennis elbow is a common term that refers to lateral epicondylitis, which is a condition where the outer (lateral) part of the elbow becomes tender and sore due to repetitive use or even direct trauma. The pain from tennis elbow is due to the fact that the tendons supporting the elbow joint display small tears that degenerate with continued use, creating more lax and less stability. Tennis elbow is indeed most commonly seen in athletes who train in racquet sports with repetitive lateral motions of the wrist and forearm but can also be brought on by any repetitive activity that requires similar movement such as for manual labour professionals.
A person suffering from tennis elbow will not only experience pain post-activity but also during every-day tasks when twisting the wrist or lifting objects with the palm facing downward. The pain tends to begin as a small annoyance but because of its degenerative nature, can become rapidly worse and almost unbearable if not promptly treated.
Basic Treatment Protocol
1.It is important to begin therapy with a health professional as soon as symptoms of tennis elbow are present. Initially, the traditional physiotherapy modalities of hot and cold therapies are used to reduce any inflammation and encourage circulation.
2. Additionally, low level laser, ultrasound and IFC (Interferential Current) therapies follow in order to modulate pain levels, decrease muscle spasm and increase blood flow.
3.Stretching and strengthening exercises are then introduced in appropriate stages with the intention of promoting the body’s natural ability to heal.
4.MRT (muscle release techniques) use soft and deep tissue therapies to break down scar tissue and facilitate proper tissue orientation. Instrument assisted soft tissue therapy (Graston® technique) utilizes therapeutic devices to perform the same function with often times, greater results.
5. Acupuncture is also offered as a option of treatment, which has been very successful in many of our tennis elbow sufferers.
6. Bracing options and strategies are offered by our experts in this area to prevent and assist optimal recovery for the long-term.