Expert diagnosis and management of common upper limb conditions
Tennis elbow is a common condition that generally occurs in middle age and is characterised by pain on the outside of the elbow. The condition is aggravated by contraction of the muscles that straighten (extend) the wrist and fingers such as reaching for a carton of milk in the fridge, picking up a cup of coffee or typing. The pain can be severe and tends to vary in rough proportion to activity.
The quality of tendon attachment to bone slowly deteriorates through adult life. Muscle strength however is entirely proportional to use, until very late in life. Significant repetitive load through these muscles may lead to overload of the tendon which becomes painful and easily aggravated. A sudden increase in load or unaccustomed activity involving the tendon can also lead to tennis elbow.
Unfortunately, even under ideal circumstances, resolution of this condition can take many months. Occupational, domestic and recreational demands may continue to overload the tendon and delay the repair process, associated with fluctuating discomfort. Your therapist will be able to guide you with strategies to unload the tendon as it heals. Application of a wrist guard can also be helpful in certain circumstances.
Golfers elbow is a condition that causes pain where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to the bony protrusion on the inside of your elbow. These muscles bend your wrist and fingers. Repetitive forceful gripping or heavy lifting cause an irritation of the tendon attachment to the bony prominence.
The condition is not limited to golfers, is more common in middle age and can occur in occupations where forceful or repetitive movements occur such as construction, plumbing and carpentry. It can also occur when lifting excessive weight in the gym.
It requires activity modification and a good understanding of how to protect the injured tendon to facilitate recovery. Your therapist will give you a detailed explanation of how this can be achieved guide you through this process which can take a number of months to resolve.
Elbow trauma is a common occurrence in young people who participate in an active sporting lifestyle, as well as during everyday life, as the result of accidental injury. A broad spectrum of injury patterns can occur. These may be minor, in which case simple pain relief and physiotherapy can be of great benefit, or they can be major and require surgery to get the best result.
The link below provides very helpful information about a range of elbow injuries: