T4 Physio

Tennis Elbow Pain Explained

Do you think you might have tennis elbow pain after starting to exercise more or a long weekend of gardening?

At this time of year, we start to see lots of patients who come to us with various overuse injuries as they return to activities that they’ve not done in a while when the nice weather arrives.

As a result, our joints, muscles and tendons simply aren’t up to the challenges of weekend adventures outdoors with the grandchildren, your first 5km in 2022, or exercising more, and they become sore, stiff and painful.

Our latest blog dives into one of these overuse injury, and the most common cause of elbow pain; tennis elbow.

What Is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is a condition that causes pain around the outside of the elbow and in some cases, the pain may travel down the forearm as well.

What Causes Tennis Elbow Pain?

Typically, the cause of tennis elbow pain is overuse, or repetition of movement to the muscles in the forearm which connect to the elbow and by doing any form of activity that involves repeatedly twisting your wrist and bending your elbow or using your forearm muscles.

As you may have guessed, tennis elbow can be caused by playing tennis, but it could be caused by any activity that puts repeated strain and stress on the elbow joint.

Some other causes of tennis elbow pain can be:

  • Using hand-tools when doing DIY or gardening
  • Sewing, typing or other activities that involve repetitive hand and wrist movements
  • Exercise that involves gripping, or pulling towards the body

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow pain can vary from mild discomfort when moving your elbow, up to severe pain that can even be experienced when your elbow is still.  It is common for tennis elbow pain to be more severe, especially when using your arm and for twisting movements like you may do when gardening, playing tennis or doing DIY.

If you have tennis elbow, you will usually experience pain:

  • on the outside of the elbow (this can move down your forearm when lifting or bending your arm)
  • when gripping small objects, such as a pen, steering wheel or holding a book
  • when twisting your forearm, such as turning a door handle or using a screwdriver

In some cases, the pain can also appear when you try to fully straighten your arm depending on the severity of your condition so it can be a varied condition which is why it’s so important to get expert advice for the best results.

Tennis Elbow Treatment

If you think you have tennis elbow – what can you do about it?

For some people, tennis elbow pain can improve on it’s own with rest, however it can take a very long time for some people.

Therefore, lots of people visit our clinics for specialist treatments and exercise plan because they want to get a faster recovery, and get back to doing the things that they love to do…

Most people don’t want to wait months for their tennis elbow to fix itself.

To speed up the recovery process, in the short term, minimise the activity that caused the flare up of pain to avoid making the condition worse. So if you notice that your elbow pain seemed to be triggered after going back to the gym, or spending a few hours gardening at the weekend, it can be a good idea to ease up on that activity.

(Don’t worry – Once you have started to recover, you can then gradual reintroduce the activity and this time, it shouldn’t cause any pain).

This will allow some time for the tendons and muscle to recover, alongside physiotherapy where we can provide massage and manual treatment to relieve pain and stiffness, as well as encouraging blood flow to the elbow.

For natural, drug-free ways to relieve tennis elbow pain, the use of ice and heat packs can be a simple, and effective way to get short term pain relief because we know that lots of our patients don’t want to be regularly taking pain killers if they can avoid it.

Long Term Results From Tennis Elbow Pain

If tennis elbow pain is affecting your life, stopping you from exercising, gardening or playing with the grandchildren, our team are here to help by delivering expert physiotherapy and provide a tailored recovery plan.

To find out more about how we can help you, we offer free taster consultations, where you can speak to a member of our team, ask any questions that you have, and decide whether physiotherapy is the right path for you.

Call us on 033017 59838 and speak to our team to arrange a FREE assessment or book your next appointment!

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