Tennis elbow is the most common overuse injury of the elbow, and it should be known that only 5% of people that develop tennis elbow actually play tennis! Repetitive stress to the tendons around the outside of the elbow can lead to this disorder. The medical term you may hear is “Lateral Epicondylitis.” People who use one arm repeatedly are most likely to develop this painful condition. Common jobs that stress these tendons include electricians, carpenters, gardeners, and desk job works, amongst many others. Athletes involved in throwing and griping type sports are also at a higher risk of developing tennis elbow. There may be some inflammation present early in the development of tennis elbow, however this typically and progresses into micro-tearing, degeneration, and extra blood vessel growth throughout the tendon, leading to additional pain.
If you think you may be suffering from this condition, your physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation to determine if symptoms are most likely a result of true tennis elbow and not stemming from another cause. Once a confident diagnosis has been confirmed, treatment often includes but is not limited to stretching, strengthening, modalities, dry-needling, activity modification, cross-friction massage, and sometimes a counterforce brace may be used. If you have questions or concerns about your elbow pain, be sure to reach out to our Doctors of Physical Therapy so they can help guide you on your way to recovery!