What Is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a condition characterized by pain at the outside of the elbow. This injury is the result of muscles and tendons in the elbow and forearm becoming damaged, typically due to overuse.
An individual suffering from tennis elbow may have a fairly drawn out recovery time, with pain lasting from several months to several years, depending on the severity of the injury. Physical therapy can help to reduce and manage pain levels while aiding the body in its natural healing process, hastening recovery.
Tennis Elbow Causes
The term tennis elbow is somewhat of a misnomer, as only a small percentage of cases are actually attributed to playing tennis. The sport does, however, perfectly illustrate how tennis elbow occurs. When subject to excessive or repetitive stress, tendons and other soft tissues in the body can develop small tears, causing pain and inflammation in the area. (An ankle sprain is another example of this.)
Tennis elbow is typically caused by excessive or repetitive stress brought about by rotating the forearm externally, such as when hitting a tennis ball backhand. These micro-tears in the forearm’s soft tissue leads to pain in the elbow and forearm, making it difficult to carry out many day-to-day activities. Some example causes of tennis elbow are listed below.
- baseball pitching
- blue-collar professions such as plumbing or carpentry
- sports injury
Tennis Elbow Treatment
Always consult your physician before attempting any kind of treatment program.
Pain medication is sometimes prescribed to help deal with the discomfort associated with tennis elbow. However, this approach only attempts to suppress the symptom instead of treating the condition itself. At Central Washington Physical Therapy, located in Yakima, our trained staff can help address the root issue, aiding your body with its natural healing process.
Tennis Elbow: Treatment Options
- electrical stimulation therapy for immediate pain relief
- hot/cold packs
- instruction in future preventative measures
- manual (hands-on) therapy
- vasopneumatic therapy
If you suffer from tennis elbow, Yakima’s Central Washington Physical Therapy may be able to help you. Contact us below to get started.