Tennis/Golfers Elbow (lateral/medial epicondylitis) is characterised by pain on the outer elbow (Tennis) or inner elbow (Golfers). Occurring equally in males and females it is most common between the ages of 30 and 50. It is often associated with work related or overuse activities and you do not have to play golf or tennis as the name suggests to develop it.
Epicondylitis is due to inflammation/degeneration of the muscles of the forearm where they insert into the bone. This is brought about typically due to activities requiring repeated gripping or unaccustomed forceful contraction of these muscles such as hammering, turning screws and racquet sports.
SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Often painful to the touch over the bone and aggravated by gripping activities or lifting objects at arms length. If it hurts to push down on the back of your hand whilst the elbow is fully extended you are likely to be suffering from Tennis elbow. However pain around the elbow can be referred from the neck or shoulder, or be due to osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis or fracture in the presence of trauma. The problem should be examined by a suitably qualified practitioner to correctly diagnose the condition.
First 48 hours – Should comprise rest from the aggravating factors. Ice application can be helpful to reduce swelling. Anti inflammatory medication can be used but you should always seek the advice of your doctor or pharmacist prior to taking.
After 48 hours – Treatment can help such as:
Ultrasound, Stretches, Specific soft tissue massage, Acupuncture, Eccentric strengthening exercises, Epicondylitis clasp/strap.
In longstanding cases inflammation can be replaced by chronic degeneration of the muscles requiring an Orthopaedic opinion or cortisone injection to cure the problem. www.shoulderdoc.co.uk