Elbow pain can be due to multiple causes, but most commonly, elbow pain is related to the tendons on either side of the elbow. Pain from tendons on the inside elbow is called ‘golfers elbow’ and pain on the outside is referred to as ‘tennis elbow.’
Tennis elbow is by far the most common of the two conditions and it is generally caused by overload or overuse of the tendon from the muscles at the back of your forearm (those that extend your wrist). With this overload over time, changes start to occur within the tendon and this becomes painful as the tendon is not coping with the increased demand.
Tennis elbow tends to get worse if not managed appropriately and pain can travel down the forearm towards the wrist and sometimes even upwards towards the shoulder. Symptoms are usually brought on by activities that require a lot of gripping and/or wrist movement. Sometimes elbow movements can also aggravate this condition.
In our clinic, we see a large number of clients who present with elbow pain, usually aggravated by repetitive overuse, such as prolonged operation of dirt bikes or quad bikes (constant gripping in combination with wrist movements), or other repetitive upper limb activity such as hair dressing, lifting or hammering etc.
Management involves unloading the tendon to stop aggravating the condition combined with strengthening exercises to improve the resilience of the tissues. Tendon injuries have a tendency to improve very slowly and perseverance with exercises is needed. When treated early, tennis elbow is much easier to settle down.
If you suffer from elbow pain it is important to seek professional advice early in order to improve your long-term outcome. Once elbow pain has become chronic it is far more difficult to manage successfully.
For further advice you can contact one of our qualified physiotherapists on (08) 8752 2330 in Bordertown, (08) 8755 1530 in Keith or (08) 8762 1515 in Naracoorte to arrange an appointment.
Steph Lubcke (Physiotherapist)