A typical tennis elbow sufferer will experience pain mild to very server) when performing even simple tasks like gripping or resisted wrist/finger extension. Pain can also be present when the muscles are stretched. Tenderness could be felt directly over the bony aspect (epicondyle) but there maybe active / trigger points in the wrist muscles also .
Tennis Elbow can be caused by repetitive damaged to the muscle tissue at the point it anchors to the arm bone at the elbow. It occurs when large forces are applied to an area which the healthy tissues can not handle. Some of the common causes for tennis elbow include,
- Unaccustomed hand / fore arm use. eg painting, excessive typing, excessive repetitive gripping or wringing activities
- Poor forearm muscle strength or tight muscles
In some cases clients will develop Chronic Tennis Elbow which is when the soft tissues in poor health, which are easily injured. Inflammation follows the injury, which leads to swelling and elbow pain.
There is also evidence that longstanding forearm muscle imbalances can distort your elbow joint position and result in chronic tennis elbow pain. This results in decreased ability to perform normal elbow activities and reducing elbow and grip strength.
Tennis Elbow can be clinically diagnosed by history taking and using some confirmatory clinical / physical tests, which can give a provisional diagnosis. An ultrasound scan or MRI are the best tests to identify any tendon tears or inflammation
Wrist Flexion Stretch: Stand at a table with your palms down, fingers flat, and elbows straight. Lean your body weight forward. Hold this position for 15 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
Wrist Extension Stretch: Stand with the back of your hands on a table, palms facing up, fingers pointing toward y our body, and elbows straight. Lean away from the table. Hold this position for 15 to 30 seconds. Repeat 3 times.
- wrist flexion exercise: Hold a can or hammer handle in your hand with your palm facing up. Bend your wrist upward. Slowly lower the weight and return to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 10. Gradually increase the weight of the can or weight you are holding.
- wrist extension exercise: Hold a soup can or hammer handle in your hand with your palm facing down. Slowly bend your wrist upward. Slowly lower the weight down into the starting position. Do 3 sets of 10. Gradually increase the weight of the can or weight you are holding.
- wrist radial deviation strengthening: Put your wrist in the sideways position with your thumb up. Hold a can of soup or hammer handle and gently bend your wrist up, with the thumb reaching toward the ceiling. Slowly lower to the starting position. Do 3 sets of 10.
- forearm pronation and supination strengthening: Hold a soup can or hammer handle in your hand and bend your elbow 90°. Slowly rotate your hand with your palm upward and then palm down. Do 3 sets of 10.
- Sit at a table with your forearm resting on the table. Hold a rolled up towel or small ball in your hand. Squeeze the towel in your hand and hold for 10 seconds. Release and repeat 10 times. Switch and do the other arm.
6.Sit in a chair holding a towel with both hands, shoulders relaxed. Twist the towel with both hands in opposite directions as if you are wringing out water. Repeat 10 times then repeat another 10 times in the other direction.