Tennis elbow/Golfer’s elbow…ah yes, that very annoying condition that prevents you from playing tennis, golf, baseball (or other sports and tasks that involve using the wrist and fingers). Most commonly known as “Tennis Elbow/ Golfer’s Elbow”, regardless of the activity that caused it, is an injury that can be very debilitating. Well, here at Brentwood Physio we want to get you back on the court, field, garden or golf course!
How do you prevent elbow injuries? How do you treat them? How do you make sure that you don’t jump back into your sport too early? All these topics will be discussed further in this post. Tennis/Golfer’s elbow is really a tendonitis/epicondylitis/epicondyalgia, which is an inflammation of tendons in the elbow. It is caused by muscle weakness/imbalance, tight muscles and or an overuse of muscles in the wrists/forearm and results in elbow pain. Let’s start with Prevention.
Preventing Elbow Injuries & Tendonitis
For starters, you would want to make sure that you practice good ergonomics at work or play for whatever activity that is aggravating your pain. The key problem is overuse and weak muscles. So strengthening and stretching is important. For golf/tennis you may want to consider hiring a coach to make sure that your golf or tennis swing is efficient, powerful and biomechanically correct.
Secondly, pain is an indication of tendon/tissue stress in your elbow. Rest or decreasing the demands on your elbow will allow for the inflammation to settle and your body to heal. Your physiotherapist can teach you specific exercises and taping techniques and advise you on modifications of work or sport.
Treating Tennis Elbow Injuries
Treating tendonitis is all about identifying the cause and making a correct diagnosis which your physiotherapist at Brentwood Physiotherapy Clinic will do. You will require a thorough assessment, as sometimes the origin of the problem is not always where the pain is. Correcting muscle imbalance and performing the correct exercises plays a huge role in recovery. There are a few different ways to effectively treat tennis/golfers elbow:
- Dry needling/ IMS techniques are very effective in reducing muscle tightness from trigger points
- Soft tissue/ myofascial release techniques
- Ultrasound (therapeutic) and Laser can help reduce inflammation
- Ergonomic assessment and education
- Personalized exercise programs
- Taping/ bracing techniques
- Joint mobilization/manipulation techniques if required for stiff joints
Rehabilitating your Elbow Injury and Staying pain free
We want to make sure that you don’t jump back into an activity and re-injure your elbow. In that case, you would be back at square one, starting your rehab from the very beginning. You will need to slowly get back into your sport or activity. Use the following best practices:
- Perform the exercises that your physiotherapist gives you. Do not stop because it feels better.
- Start by slowly using the movements and motions from your sport and progress as directed.
- Remember to listen to your body for signs of overuse. Pain that persists 1 hour after an activity and the next day indicates that you have done too much.
- Follow rehab guidelines and not be in a great hurry to return to pre-injury status! Better to be safe then re-injure yourself.
- Ask your physiotherapist for clarification on all exercises if needed, to be on the same page.
- Stay positive! Your road to recovery may get frustrating but use your family, friends and your physiotherapist to help you get through!
- Try visualization techniques. Sit in a quiet place, close your eyes and imagine yourself playing tennis or golf. You may not be able to physically play your sport but research shows that visualization techniques can really help with neuroplasticity of the brain.
Come visit us at the North Hill Mall Professional Offices in NW Calgary! Brentwood Physiotherapy Clinic – You may limp in but we’ll get you leaping out!