Get to Your Therapist If You Have Tennis Elbow

Young woman having pain in her elbow

Young woman having pain in her elbow

Treat Tennis Elbow in McHenry, IL

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a dysfunction of the tendons that insert into the lateral epicondyle (the bony bump on the outside of the elbow). Not only does it occur in tennis players, but it occurs more often in people that apply repetitive stresses to the forearm. Repetitive use of garden tools, heavy lifting, and high velocity sports can place excessive stress on the forearm tendons where they attach to the elbow.

The extensor tendons at the outside of the elbow are damaged with lateral epicondylitis. This can result in pain at the outside of the elbow that radiates down along the forearm toward the hand. It is usually painful to touch at the outside of the elbow as well.

Recent examination of the damaged tendon tissues has indicated that lateral epicondylitis may not be an inflammatory problem but a disorder of the microstructure of the tendon, called a tendinosis. A tendinosis can take longer to heal since the tendon has to be regenerated and strengthened to the point that it can handle the strain of everyday activity.

There are many treatment options. Recent research has shown that iontophoresis can help with an acute case of lateral epicondylitis. Iontophoresis uses electricity to push antiinflammatory medication through the skin to the underlying tissues. Shockwave therapy can also help break down the dysfunctional tendon tissue and cause the body to regenerate healthy tendon tissue.

Another study concluded that many of the treatments that physical and occupational therapists use are helpful. Your therapist will help you modify activities to avoid repetitive stress, may recommend a splint, and will help you stretch and strengthen the muscles of the arm, forearm, and hand.

In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove the dysfunctional tissue.

So if you have injured your elbow, make sure you see your therapist or physician. Early intervention may keep the problem from becoming chronic.