End of year can be a very busy time for those working behind the office desk. Continuous use of the mouse or keyboard can lead to elbow pain commonly known as tennis elbow. Although common in office workers it can also affect those who use gripping actions during their working day. Sports which required grip strength such as weight lifting, cross fit and tennis may also lead to this overuse injury.
Tennis elbow, medically known as lateral epicondylitis occurs when overuse of the wrist extensors causes a strain through their origin point in the elbow, leading to a micro tear in the tendon. It usually occurs over a period without sudden injury.
Pain is the most common complaint and usually occurs with gripping or lifting once injured. You might also feel an ache at rest or at night time. Pain may travel slight distal or proximal to the elbow itself.
If your pain is severe in the initial stages a trip to your GP for an anti-inflammatory may help. This will help ease the pain sufficiently and allow you to commence some physiotherapy treatment. Techniques used to treat the condition may include acupuncture, shock wave and laser therapy, soft tissue release and correction of muscle imbalances which may have led to the injury. Commonly a weakness higher up the arm or shoulder may be contributing to the elbow being overloaded. This can be identified during the assessment process. Tennis elbow can take some time to resolve, so the importance of early detection and taking the right steps to rehabilitation are paramount. If you think you might have early onset of tennis elbow, feel free to give us a call here at Ratoath Physiotherapy to point you in the right direction.
Bryan Henry is a fully qualified member of the Irish Society of Physiotherapy and is based in Ratoath Physiotherapy Clinic.