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Are you suffering from Tennis elbow?

Tennis Elbow – medically known as lateral epicondylitis, is a common condition of pain and inflammation in the tendons that attach the muscles in the forearm which extend the wrist and fingers to the outside of the elbow. 

Despite its name, tennis elbow can affect anyone, not just tennis players, and understanding its mechanism, causes, and treatment options is essential for effective management. 

At Meadowside Osteopathy, our team specialises in providing pain relief and long-term solutions for joint and muscle issues, including tennis elbow. 

Let’s delve into this condition and explore how you can find relief, both at home and in the clinic.

Mechanism and Causes:

Tennis elbow typically develops due to repetitive motions of the wrist and arm, leading to overuse and strain on the tendons. Activities such as tennis, gardening, painting, or typing can contribute to its onset. 

The repetitive pull on the tendon’s insertion (its meeting  point with the bone) causes tiny tears within the tendon, leading to pain and inflammation. 

Some people may be more prone to developing tennis elbow, for example if you have very flexible joints, or if the angle of your elbow when straightened is sharper than the average.

Interestingly, in tennis, risk factors can extend beyond your anatomy and level of activity. This includes the type of ball and racket used, and even the stringing of your racket!

Things You Can Do at Home to Help:

We always describe managing repetitive strain injuries as ‘winning the race’ between wear & repair: the repair process must be more efficient than the rate of use, or wear, of the tendon. Therefore we must combine treatment with rest, and possibly an altered use of the muscle in question.

1. Rest and Ice: 

Allow the affected arm to rest wherever possible, and apply ice packs to reduce inflammation. Apply ice in alternation – 3 mins on, 3 mins off. This allows for circulation to return to the area in between applications, which helps stimulate the healing process.

2. Strengthen: 

Strengthening the forearm muscles can help restore strength, flexibility, and function to the affected tendon and surrounding muscles. Furthermore, strengthening these muscles also provides stability and support to the elbow joint decreasing the strain on the tendon during movement and activities.

3. Brace below the elbow: 

Wear a strap around your forearm just below the elbow while you engage in activities which use the forearm muscles and aggravate symptoms. This takes the pressure off the inflamed insertion point, allowing it to heal. For example using epiclasp or elbow sleeve while playing tennis 

4. Pain Management:

Over-the-counter pain medications or topical creams can help manage pain and inflammation.

Treatment Options in Clinic:

At Meadowside Osteopathy, we offer comprehensive treatment for tennis elbow, tailored to individual needs. Our approach may include:

1. Hands-on Manual Therapy: Osteopathic techniques aim to improve joint mobility, reduce muscle tension, and enhance blood flow to the affected area, promoting healing and pain relief. Your osteopath will also give you structured, bespoke strengthening programs and advice, to support the healing process outside the treatment room.

2. Laser Therapy: Our Low-level laser therapy machine can stimulate tissue repair and reduce inflammation, offering targeted pain relief and speeding up the recovery process. We have already had lots of success helping our patients with tennis elbow get back on the court using our Mphi Laser therapy machine!

Did You Know?

Risk factors for tennis elbow can be diverse, including factors related to sports equipment such as the type of ball and racket used, as well as the stringing of the racket. Paying attention to these factors and ensuring proper technique and equipment can help reduce the risk of developing this condition. 

It is advised to get proper tuition and supervision, as well as gear checking, for yourself and any young ones in the family learning to play.

Our knowledgeable partners at Pin Point Tennis can offer not only tennis coaching, in groups and 1:1, also help with equipment and restringing. Changing the type of string used or the tension levels will improve the shock absorption of your racket. This dampens the amount of vibrations sent down the racket and into your joints, helping prevent discomfort and the development of tennis elbow.

Talk to Us:

Our dedicated Osteopaths at Meadowside are committed to providing personalised care, to help you overcome injury and regain function and comfort in your daily activities.

Contact us today to schedule an initial consultation, and take the first step towards a pain-free life.

If there’s anything you’d like to discuss with our osteopaths prior to booking a consultation, you can make an appointment for a FREE 15-minute telephone call with an osteopath here: https://meadowsideosteopathy.co.uk/book-online/.