Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
Tennis elbow is one of the most common overuse syndromes and is characterised by insidious onset of lateral elbow pain.
Despite the name, it is generally not characterised by inflammation of the tendons, but tends to be a gradual degeneration of the tendon due to lack of oxygen as a result of hypovascularity at the tendon insertion.
Pain may also radiate down the posterior aspect of the forearm, and generally is aggravated by activity, particularly typical overuse activities. It can vary in intensity from mild to severe.
Though described as Tennis Elbow the condition is more common in the general population than in sport.
Overuse of the extensor muscles may be as a result of lack of conditioning in the core and shoulder muscles.
Poor general conditioning leads to fatigue of the core and shoulder muscles, which puts an overemphasis on the extensor muscles of the forearm.
Poor gripping, positioning, and training in racquet sports can result in lateral epicondylitis, while repetitive aggravating actions in workers may lead to the condition
Tennis Elbow rarely presents with swelling or bruising and tenderness usually occurs distally to the origin of the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB) at the lateral epicondyle.
Pain is increased when the wrist is extended with resistance and with the wrist abducted, while pain may also occur in the middle finger when extended and resisted supination may increase pain.
Flexion and extension of the elbow may be restricted, but certainly will be painful.
Always examine range of motion of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist on the affected side.
Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory drugs may be of use in the acute phase, while physiotherapy may be of benefit in the longer term, and rest is also considered to be important.
Cortico-steroid injections have proved effective, and bracing is widely used to apply pressure on the tendon.
Kinesiology Taping has its place in this injury although no research has been completed on its efficacy.
Published: July 8, 2011
Lateral Epicondylitis Treatments