Tennis Elbow – Lateral Epicondylitis

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We offer isolation appointments where the only person you meet at the clinic is the practitioner.

Lateral Epicondylitis, or tennis elbow as it is more commonly known, was first described as an affliction suffered by tennis players, mainly those hitting repetitive backhands, by Mr. Henry Morris, MA, FRCS, in 1882

An article by him was published in the Lancet describing “the lawn tennis arm,” in which frequent use of the backstroke leads to a sprain of the “pronator radii teres” muscle. He saw three such cases and “one gentleman said he had known of several lawn tennis players affected in the same way.”

However, while it is commonly associated with playing tennis and other racquet sports, the injury can happen to almost anyone and often occurs after strenuous overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm.

Signs & symptoms

Tennis elbow usually affects the arm of the dominant hand as this is the arm used the most. The main symptom is pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow and sometimes in the muscles on top of the forearm. This pain may get worse when the wrist is moved such as when griping or twisting something, such as a door handle or when shaking hands. Other symptoms include:

  • Point tenderness over the lateral epicondyle – a prominent part of the bone on the outside of the elbow
  • Activities that use the muscles that extend the wrist such as pouring a drink and lifting with the palm down
  • Morning stiffness

Pain can also occur on the inner side of the elbow, which is known as golfer’s elbow.

Tennis elbow is fairly uncommon, approximately five in every 1,000 adults in the UK are affected by the condition each year, mainly in people around 40-years of age. Men and woman are affected equally.

Shock Wave Therapy & Tennis Elbow

A study in the American Journal of Sports Medicine showed that there was a significantly higher improvement in pain during resisted wrist extension from patients receiving shock wave therapy.

How We Apply Shockwave Therapy for Lateral Epicondylitis

Shockwave therapy for Lateral Epicondylitis is a regular treatment at our clinic. Initially, we will discuss your history of the pain with you to establish and understand the clinical history behind the problem.

We then examine the area of the arm to ascertain the tender point where the pain is most felt and apply castor oil (read our news item about castor oil) which aids the transmission of the focussed shock waves into the tender point. We then start transmitting shockwave impulses onto that point.

patient receiving shockwave therapy for tennis elbow.

Patient Receiving Shockwave Therapy for Tennis Elbow

Discomfort is kept to a minimum and you should feel little pain. Gradually, we will increase the impulses and a little pain may be felt and this may last for a day or two.

We usually advocate three to four treatments at weekly intervals and after the last of these you should feel a definite improvement and a reduction in the original pain.

We will also recommend an accompanying physiotherapy treatment and an exercise regime including strength exercises and a beneficial eccentric loading programme to aid your recovery.

To find out more about Tennis Elbow and shock wave therapy or to book a free consultation, contact us now.

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