Tennis Elbow

Lateral epicondylitis or lateral epicondyle tendinopathy or better known as tennis elbow is a condition that delivers pain typically on the outside of the elbow and originates in what is known as the common extensor origin where multiple muscles attach to your elbow. 

In most cases of tennis elbow the affected fibers are the anterior fibers of the extensor carpi radialis brevis which is responsible for extending the wrist and your middle finger. Here are 3 things you can do to help manage tendon issue.

Strengthening of the tendon.

  1. Isometrics.

A great way to start safely loading your tendon particularly if it is extremely sensitive and painful is through isometrics. Isometrics contraction is a static contraction of a muscle where the joint angle or muscle length does not change. Isometrics have been shown to produce an analgesic effect by altering the pain pathways to your brain. Once your pain levels have reduced and you are less sensitive you can move onto eccentric exercises. 

  • Eccentrics.

Fix the band firmly under your foot and hold the other end in your affected hand. Use your free unaffected hand to pull your wrist back towards you stretching the band with it.  Your free hand must do all the work to bring your wrist back. Gently let go with the supporting hand.  Slowly let the band pull your wrist down towards the floor.  You have now done one exercise.  You will need to do this exercise fifteen times, rest for a minute, do fifteen more exercises, rest for a minute, do a final fifteen exercises.  

 (science bit – probably to much info) The exercises are done with the elbow in 2 positions. The 90° flexed elbow position likely isolates the ECRB as the extensor carpi radialis longus attaches above the lateral epicondyle (lateral supracondylar ridge of the distal humerus). 

The 180° extended position is important because the extensor muscles, including the ECRB, are stretched further, creating more stress on the tendon during the exercises. The increase in tension generated from this extra stretch likely helps to build the collagenous scar in the area of attachment. 

Stretching.

To effectively stretch this tendon it is important to stretch by bringing the wrist into flexion with both the elbow straight and then with the elbow flexed.

Stretches should not be painful so stop before any pain occurs. Perform 3-4 sets holding for 30seconds.

Rest.

Might sound simple but stop doing the things that aggrevate or hurt the elbow. As it is an over use injury you will need to rest from such provocative activities. So lift or perform tasks with the unaffected arm instead.

If you have been struggling with tennis elbow pop in here at Ratoath physiotherapy and we will help get you back pain free.

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