Tennis elbow is a common injury or aliment I see in practice. it is something I see among all kinds of people, recreational tennis players, but tradesmen and office workers, new mothers, all with pain on the outer region of the elbow.
I commonly get a lot of questions about tennis elbow, and I thought it would be a good idea to combine a nice Q and A into a blog post.
Here are some answers to the most commonly asked tennis elbow questions, and what I do in practice when treating tennis elbow.
How Does Physio Treat Tennis Elbow?
Physios treat tennis elbow with a combination of modifying the aggravating activities where modifiable, reducing pain and dysfunction, improving resilience, strength, and function of the whole arm.
They identify the cause or driver of the symptoms and adapt movement patterns and biomechanics to prevent future flare-ups. This in turn rebuilds a better functioning, or more efficient system of muscles, ligaments, tendons, nerves, and blood vessels.
How Do You Heal Tennis Elbow Fast?
There is no one quick fix when it comes to treating tennis elbow. The cause of tennis elbow is usually overuse in one or more aspects of life – be it in work, in sports, or in relation to emotions. It takes time for all these factors to be understood as the cause and it takes time for these things to be altered before there is a significant improvement in symptoms, meaning no pain or dysfunction. Give it time.
It is different for everyone but as a general timeline – I tell my clients 6-8 weeks, and more if they want more advanced sports-specific rehab.
How To Reduce Pain And Discomfort
There is so much you can do to reduce pain and discomfort, and it is often the step goal for clients. I use a combination of gentle active exercises, hands-on therapy, and laser therapy to reduce pain, increase function and reduce symptoms.
Braces And Straps For Tennis Elbow
I only recommend or prescribe braces under very specific circumstances, because I like getting my clients back to normal, and even better, and more natural, getting back to basics without braces and orthotics is best, in my opinion.
However, if my client has a big tournament coming up I might give them braces that might help get them through the tournament without pain, give them just enough respite to increase performance and confidence on the field.
Can Exercise Make Tennis Elbow Worse?
Yes, it can. Yes, it can.
If the tennis elbow is caused by something like overtraining in tennis (or golf) or working with your hands too much at work, you will need to reduce and modify these activities. If you do a high-intensity exercise or keep doing sport the same way that lead to tennis elbow – without understanding what is causing tennis elbow, you might be not get better and it might increase your symptoms.
What Is The Long Term Outlook For Tennis Elbow?
Like with most soft tissue injuries, if the cause of tennis elbow is fixed (like overtraining in tennis or golf) then there won’t be any reoccurrences – as long as your biomechanics are good which means you are performing tennis elbow exercises to increase strength and function in the new, pain-free range of movement.
If tennis elbow is caused by something like working with your hands too much at work or working long hours on a computer without taking any breaks – then there might be reoccurrences unless biomechanics (how you use the muscles and joints in tennis elbow rehab exercises) are looked at and modified to prevent future flares.
Physiotherapy for tennis elbow focuses on treating the cause of tennis elbow (pain, dysfunction, and weakness) instead of just masking these symptoms as medications or injections do. I use a combination of modifying aggravating activities where modifiable, reducing pain and dysfunction, improving resilience strength and function to get my clients back to their normal everyday lives.
To conclusion this little Q&A, there is a lot of physio can do for tennis elbow – from changes the drivers or lifestyle factors, to exercise therapy and laser therapy. If you believe you may have tennis elbow, just contact your local physio and see what treatment they provide.