Tennis elbow

Most people with “tennis elbow” have never played tennis or any other racquet sport. It is a complicated problem involving head and neck posture as well as arm and hand activities. It usually builds up over time and starts as achiness at the outside of the elbow but it can progress to sharp pain on the slightest activity such as lifting a cup .This can make everyday activities very difficult. Playing racquet sports or any activity that involves prolonged gripping such as operating machinery or doing DIY can bring on symptoms. It is usually slow to heal and thorough assessment is needed to identify all of the factors involved. Younger people usually recover more quickly because they [usually] have better posture and they heal more rapidly. A similar problem can arise at the inside of the elbow for similar reasons and is called “golfers elbow”

Case study

Tom is in his late fifties and has an office job. He plays tennis most weekends and occasionally plays in tournaments. About a month before attending Stranmillis Physiotherapy he started having pain at his right elbow while playing in a tournament. He carried on playing and by the end of the tournament the pain at his elbow was a lot worse. He took a break from tennis for a few weeks but this made little difference and his elbow ached most of the time with sharp pain when he tried to lift anything. On assessment his head poked forward and his shoulders were rounded. Tom’s pain was treated using LASER and soft-tissue techniques to help the muscles and tendons heal. He was advised not to play tennis at all while pain was present as this would prolong his recovery time. His head and neck posture were corrected and he wore an elbow clasp for a few weeks to reduce the pain on using his hand and give the affected tissues a rest. He was advised to book a session with a tennis coach to have his technique analysed and corrected. Tom’s had 7 sessions over a six week period by which time he was pain-free and able to play tennis for 20 minutes once a week. He slowly got back to his previous level over the next 6 weeks but is now careful about how much tennis he plays and allows much more recovery time between matches.

Stranmilllis Physiotherapy