The Joint Ventures' Blog

Tennis Elbow

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Lateral elbow tendinopathy, commonly known as tennis elbow, is a common cause of elbow pain in men and women between the ages of 35 and 54. The source of pain from tennis elbow is localized degeneration of the common tendon that attaches the elbow to the muscles that extend (pull back) the wrist and hand. People with tennis elbow will most often have pain with gripping, particularly when lifting an object using a palm-down grip, and will report tenderness of the elbow.

Tennis elbow affects roughly 1-3% of the population, and research shows that those at increased risk are individuals who smoke, manual workers, and tennis players. Now you are saying, “But I don’t smoke, play tennis, or have a physical job. Why am I having this pain?” Poor workstation ergonomic set up, particularly for jobs with highly repetitive tasks including prolonged computer use, also plays a role. Those who have previously been diagnosed with tennis elbow are also at increased risk for recurrence. 

Research had found that cortisone steroid injections provide short-term relief of pain, but outcomes were also shown to be worse at 6 and 12 month follow ups when compared to people receiving either physical therapy or a “wait-and-see” approach. In severe cases, approximately 5% of people with tennis elbow, surgical intervention may be indicated, but this comes with variable outcomes.

In the current research, the most commonly supported treatment is exercise in physical therapy. In addition, there is evidence to support the use of several manual therapy techniques to decrease pain and allow you to get more benefit out of the prescribe PT exercises. As an individual, the circumstances surrounding your pain may be very different than another individual with the same condition, and your treatment should reflect that. All of the skilled physical therapists at Joint Ventures are well equipped to personalize an exercise routine tailored to specifically meet the needs of your unique lifestyle and symptom presentation.

If you have any questions about tennis elbow, feel free to get in touch with me at our Brookline/Allston location or email me at Ben.Gibson@JointVenturesPT.com.

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