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Tennis (elbow) anyone?

Learn all about a very common injury to the elbow

Today we're talking about a very common injury.  Lateral epicondylitis, commonly called "tennis elbow" affects many people - even if you don't play tennis.  It got its nickname due to the fact that this condition can be brought on from playing tennis - specifically from hitting a lot of backhand strokes.  However in my experience the overwhelming majority of individuals with this injury are not tennis players.

This injury usually affects one of two muscle tendons right where they attach to the bone.  The extensor carpi radialis brevis is usually the affected muscle.  The most interesting thing about this type of injury is that while its called tennis elbow, because the pain is up by the elbow, the muscle that actually hurts is one that cotrols the wrist.

For any of you that have had this often painful problem you probably realized this fact when things like holding a milk container, shaking hands with someone, or even opening a door caused elbow pain.  That's because you were doing something that required you to use your wrist.  Even making a tight fist can send a jolt of pain into the elbow.

One cause for concern is that sometimes what you might think is tennis elbow is really not.  A condition known as radial tunnel sydrome often appears similar to tennis elbow but is actually a nerve problem that if left untreated can cause more serious and long-term damage.  That's why its important to get that checked out.

To get rid of tennis elbow there tends to be two popular treatments.  The first is physical therapy and the second is cortisone injections.  In the next blog we are going to look at these two types of treatment for tendonitis in general but for tennis elbow specifically, physical therapy can be extremely helpful.  Through a specific strengthening program we can rehabilitate the tendon.  We can also show you ways that you can lift so that you don't cause the pain or even give you a brace to help decrease the pain and inflammation.

As always questions or comments are encouraged.  Your question is probably ten other people's as well.  You can comment on  this blog or you can email me at nextstep@nextsteppt.com.

Yours in health

Chris Ostling PT, DPT

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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