Tennis and golfer’s elbow are the terms given to lateral and medial epicondylitis of the elbow, respectively. These conditions are felt at the outside and inside of the elbow and come about by increased loads to the interface of the muscle and bone, or in other words, where the muscle inserts onto the bone. Increased loads may be in the form of repetitive movements, such as gripping, or tearing from forceful movements whereby the muscles of the forearm pull on the bony insertion at the elbow. Depending on whether it’s the forearm extensors or the forearm flexors determines whether you have tennis or golfer’s elbow.
Often this condition is very limiting, making it hard to use the hands to pick things up, squeeze and lift. Workplace duties can be affected by these conditions which may require modification of duties.
This stubborn problem is much easier treated in the early stages as deterioration of the tendon may progress quickly within the first month. Physiotherapy management of the condition may be in the form of;
- The use of a brace (important to get the ‘right’ brace)
- Gentle massage and strengthening of muscles in an eccentric manner
- Mobilisation of the joints in the elbow
- Dry needling
- Neural stretches
- Shoulder and neck treatment