What is Tennis Elbow?

Did you know that tennis elbow is a form of tendonitis? Also known as lateral epicondylitis, this particular type of tendonitis causes swelling and pain in the elbow and arm region. This painful inflammation is caused by overusing the elbow and arm muscles to perform repetitive movements. Hence, why it’s called tennis elbow. When it comes to elbow pain, this condition is considered one of the most common reasons why people visit a doctor. It can occur at any age and tends to become more severe over time. If you or someone you know has been suffering from tennis elbow and are in need of physical therapy near White Plains NY for treatment, contact our staff at New York Sports Medicine Institute. We offer a wide variety of physical therapy treatments that can help target the muscles of the elbow and reverse the signs of your injury. Continue reading to learn more about tennis elbow and how physical therapy can help reduce pain and treat your symptoms. 

What Causes Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow involves the swelling and inflammation of the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle which is located in the forearm. This muscle helps to extend and raise the wrist. Repetitive motions of the ECRB muscle can cause microscopic tears to occur, resulting in pain, inflammation, and weakening of this muscle over time. 

Tennis elbow can be brought on by any activity that requires repetitive movements. These activities can include sports, hobbies, or even certain jobs, such as:

  • Tennis. 
  • Racquetball.
  • Squash.
  • Fencing. 
  • Weight lifting.
  • Swimming.
  • Golfing. 
  • Typing on a computer.
  • Painting.
  • Raking.
  • Knitting.
  • Carpentry.

What are the Symptoms?

Tennis elbow can bring on a variety of different symptoms. These can include:

  • Inflammation of the forearm.
  • Pain that extends from the outside of the elbow, radiating down towards the forearm and wrist.
  • Weakened grip or decreased ability to make a fist.
  • Increased level of pain when shaking, squeezing or conducting normal activities with the hand or wrist.

This condition is very similar to another medical injury called golfers elbow. Both of these conditions affect the outside of the tendon in the forearm. It’s important that if your pain continues to get worse, you seek medical attention immediately. If the pain persists, it could be a warning sign that your condition is worsening. 

Diagnosis of Tennis Elbow

In order for your doctor to definitively diagnose your tennis elbow condition, a thorough medical examination must be completed. Your doctor may ask you for a rundown of your medical history and an overview of the daily activities you perform. They can also use imaging testing such as X-rays or an MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) to pinpoint any microtears present in the tendons. These tests can help your doctor rule out any other conditions that could be present and also be the source of your pain. 

How Can Physical Therapy Help? 

It’s said that nearly 80-95 percent of those suffering from tennis elbow can recover using non-surgical treatment methods. Physical therapy is one of the most prominent ways used to reduce pain and also help improve overall strength and range of motion in the forearm, hand, and wrist. This particular injury can impair your strength and ability to conduct everyday activities, making physical therapy essential to incorporate into your recovery process. Physical therapists can help provide you with daily exercises such as:

  • Fist clenches.
  • Wrist extensions.
  • Wrist flexion.
  • Towel twists.
  • Supination using dumbells.

Another key way to ensure recovery from tennis elbow is to incorporate more regular rest into your routine. Without allowing your body time to properly rest, you can be sure your condition will be sustained or get worse. 

Prevention of Tennis Elbow 

Prevention of this injury is all about taking the proper precautions and being mindful of your predisposed risk for tennis elbow. Athletes who perform repetitive motions with the wrist or hand should take into account their susceptibility for this condition and try to limit overusing these muscles in a short period of time. By taking breaks, making sure you’re using the proper equipment, and icing your elbow frequently, it can help ensure the prevention and recurrence of this particular injury. 

Contact Us

If you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of tennis elbow and are in need of a proper diagnosis and treatment plan, schedule an appointment with our team at New York Sports Medicine Institute. Our staff of well experienced orthopedic surgeons/sports medicine doctors and skilled physical therapists can help to provide you with the proper diagnosis and treatment plans for you and your condition. Our physical therapy near White Plains NY can help treat and reverse the signs of your tennis elbow. So don’t wait, contact us today and get the relief you need!