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Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)

Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)

Lateral epicondylitis, also known as Tennis Elbow, is commonly identified as an inflammatory condition of the wrist extensor/supinator originating at the elbow. Tendonitis is an acute inflammatory response to injury of a tendon, identified by heat, swelling, and pain. In this condition, pain is typically localized to the extensor muscle mass at the elbow.

Symptoms:

  • Point tenderness at the lateral epicondyle of the elbow
  • Pain with forceful/resistive supination and wrist extension (i.e. opening doors, gripping tools/objects, etc.)
  • Elbow pain during the nighttime
  • Elbow stiffness in the morning
  • Weakness in grip

Common Causes:

  • High intensity occupations or sports (i.e. tennis)
  • Forceful, resistive, repetitive forearm supination and wrist extension
  • Overuse of elbow or wrist extensors and forearm supinators

If left untreated:

    • More damage to tissues/structures of the elbow
    • Increased pain
    • Decreased function
    • Reduced strength
    • Neglect of treatment could later result in associated complications, such as radial neuropathy or a need for surgery

Negative effects of Tennis Elbow:

    • Decreased ability or inability to participate in meaningful life activities, including work, sports, household activities
    • Compensating by using the uninvolved arm leading to overuse and additional issues

Treatment:

  • Ergonomic modifications
  • Lifestyle changes
  • Orthotic support to promote healing and recovery
  • Patient education on the healing process and how to prevent future injury

Other helpful information:

As with many conditions, early identification and intervention of lateral epicondylitis improves long-term outcome. Fighting through the pain is not recommended. With a condition like this, rest is of primary importance in the acute state.

The Shift Model of Care:

  • Shift treats the whole you—body, mind and spirit because these elements of your health are always connected.
  • Shift uses a collaborative model to inform and empower you with multiple perspectives.
  • Shift is a supportive environment where you are invited to notice your own shifting self-awareness.

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