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What Is Tennis Elbow?

What is it?

Tennis Elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis is an overuse injury of the forearm and the wrist extensors tendons, primarily the extensor carpi radialis brevis and common extensor tendon typically presents as progressive pain over the lateral aspect of the elbow.

It is primarily due to repetitive strain from tasks and activities that involve loaded and repeated gripping and/or wrist extension. It historically occurs in tennis players but can result from any sports that require repetitive wrist extension, radial deviation, and/or forearm supination. Relating to occupational and athletic population tennis elbow is often precipitated by poor mechanics, technique or improper equipment.

Symptoms:

Patients will typically report:

  • Pain over the lateral elbow. It can typically occur 1-3 days after performing unaccustomed activity involving repetitive wrist movements
  • Decreased ability to perform tasks that involve gripping, forearm rotation or wrist movements due to pain
  • Pain when touching the lateral aspect of the elbow

Latest research indicates the following for optimal recovery:

  • Relative rest from aggravating activity as guided by the level of pain.
  • Ice (particularly after activity)
  • Ultrasound
  • Dry Needling
  • A graded exercise program initially focusing on isometric muscle strength
  • Bracing and/or taping

It is important to know that any tendon condition may take 12 to 24 months to completely resolve. Persistence and adherence to the recovery plan is vital for optimal rehabilitation and successful return to activity.