Physical Therapy Demystified: Lateral Epicondylitis/Tennis Elbow

You may not have heard of lateral epicondylitis, but tennis elbow should be more familiar. Tennis elbow is a debilitating affliction causing the outer edge of the forearm pain. While this affliction might be associated with sports, it's also caused by repetitive and consistent strain. Actions as simple as opening a jar can be enough to trigger tennis elbow. Maybe you don't regularly take up a racket for a quick doubles match, but there is likely something else in your life leaving you susceptible to injury from repetitive strain. 

There's no need to live with throbbing pain from tennis elbow. Regular trips to your physical therapist can help alleviate pain and prevent further damage to your ligaments, muscles, and joints. Pain from tennis elbow can present as an intense throbbing or burning in the lower arm up to the elbow joint. The lower arm could also be sensitive to pressure or cold in the affected area. If you're unsure whether or not you are suffering from a case of lateral epicondylitis, then there are diagnostic tests that can be run. 

Diagnostics test will both differentiate the source and type of tennis elbow as well as differentiate from similarly presenting ailments. These tests will help your physical therapist know if your tennis elbow is due to overuse, tendinosis, or over/under use of muscles.

In general patients dealing with lateral epicondylitis suffer from a decline in grip strength. Relieving the pain and building strength again will be the prime concern of your physical therapist, but all patient's treatments will depend on their individual case and the treating physical therapist. Manual manipulation, strength building, and pain management will be just what the doctor ordered to get you back to playing doubles (or just taking lids off of bottles!)