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Tennis or golfer’s elbow?
What is tennis or golfer’s elbow: Definition of epicondylitis
There are two types of epicondylitis:
Tennis and golfer’s elbow: Causes and risk factors
All forearm muscles that are required for finger and wrist strength and movement are attached to the two bony prominences (epicondyles) of the humerus by the tendon insertions. If the muscles and tendons are strained, tiny tears and inflammation can develop near the epicondyle on the outside of your elbow.
Symptoms and signs that may indicate epicondylitis
- Elbow pain that is often worse when you use your arm, particularly twisting movements.
- Pain on the outside of your upper forearm, just below your elbow
- Pain when lifting or bending your arm
- Pain when writing or gripping small objects
- Pain and stiffness when fully extending your arm
How can tennis/golfer’s elbow be prevented?
Avoid common incorrect strain of the elbow joint:
- Play tennis with the correct technique and, if necessary, invest in training sessions.
- Use support pads when working at a computer and use an ergonomically-shaped mouse to relieve pressure on the forearm.
- If you do manual work, then tools such as a cordless screwdriver will make your life easier.
- Lift objects so that the palm of your hand is facing your body.
- And last but not least: Watch out for signs of overuse and take a break.
Treatment for epicondylitis?
- Soft Supports: These can relieve the irritated tendons. Many doctors or physios would recommend an elbow support. The compressive knit structure of these supports help to relieve inflammation and to ease the pain. The tendons are also relieved by the 3D pad and the strap.
- Operation: Invasive treatments, such as surgery, will only be considered in severe and persistent cases of tennis elbow, where non-surgical approaches have not been effective.
- Stretching exercises: Your GP may refer you to a physiotherapist is your epicondylitis is causing more severe or persistent pain. They may use manual therapy techniques such as massage and show you exercises that you can do to keep your arm mobile and to strengthen your forearm muscles.
- Steroid injections: You may be offered a steroid injection when other treatments haven’t worked but these are only likely to offer short-term relief.
- Shock wave therapy: Short, strong shock waves stimulate the body’s own healing process. It is non-evasive and can relieve pain and promote movement in the affected area. However it may not work in all cases.
Physio exercises for epicondylopathy
For medial tendon irritation (golfer’s elbow) or lateral irritation (tennis elbow), both the eccentric strengthening and the stretching of the muscles of the irritated tendons can promote the healing process. To maximise the benefits of the therapeutic exercises, patients should ideally perform the exercises three to four times a week.
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