May 21st, 2018
Physical therapy has a large range of benefits, including pre-surgery and post-surgery rehabilitation, improving mobility after injuries, and relieving pain. One of the many conditions that physical therapy can help with is tennis elbow – a common injury, which is also known as tendonitis. Below is an outline of what tennis elbow is and how physical therapy for tennis elbow is beneficial.
What is tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow is the common term for the pain that happens when the tendons on the outer side of your elbow are overworked due to repeated use. It's also common known as "lateral epicondylitis" and it's mainly caused by inflammation of the foreman muscle that is it attached to the elbow. Typically tennis elbow is the result of really repetitive movements such as in tennis, racketball, and even in jobs like painting and construction. One thing to note is that although the condition has ‘tennis’ in its name, the condition doesn’t only affect athletes. Anyone involved in any activity that involves repeatedly moving your wrist and arm could be affected by this condition.
What are the causes and symptoms of the tennis elbow?
Surprisingly, if you’re using your joints and muscles ineffectively, even some everyday activities - like chopping up ingredients for cooking, prolonged usage of a computer mouse, using tools, or even painting, can cause a tennis elbow. Common symptoms include pain and weakness on the outside of your elbow, which can sometimes radiate to your wrist and forearm.
How can physical therapy help with tennis elbow?
Physical therapy can be a huge help for tennis elbow – not only improving the motion of the joint, but also, in time, reducing and eventually eliminating the pain of the injury. Your physical therapist will work with you to identify why your injury might have happened, and work out some exercises that can help you to use your joints more effectively, and take the strain off them.
Exercises they might suggest are aimed at improving blood flow to the tendons, which typically receive much less oxygen than muscles around them, or might be focused on several other things:
What are some physical therapy exercises for tennis elbow?
Your physical therapist will make a plan that works specifically for you, but here are a few exercises which they might suggest:
What are some other exercises I can do to help?
Here a few exercises that will help you with aleviating some of the pain from tennis elbow. Note: we recommend visiting your physical therapist because they will know how to use physical therapy for tennis elbow best. Your physical therapist will diagnose your specific condition and give you specific exercises to your current condition. But nonetheless these exercises can help:
Why physical therapy for tennis elbow?
With physical therapy, you can improve the strength and flexibility of the muscles in your foreman which means the likely-hood of being bothered by tennis elbow again are slim. Similarly, physical therapy for tennis elbow can help improve the blood flow to the muscles in your foreman which will help supply essential blood and oxygen to the muscles as fast as possible.
If you are looking for pain relief before you visit a physical therapist we have a few suggestions to help ease the pain.
These may work for you, but of course, as with any injury, it’s a good idea to visit a physical therapist to get a specific plan, tailored for your injury, as part of a complete plan. If you want to discuss options for your specific situation and want to see what physical therapy for tennis elbow would like for your specific situation, please visit our clinic page.
Can PT help tennis elbow?
Of course, we cannot say that physical therapy is always the answer to healing tennis elbow. Whether physical therapy will help you is highly dependent on your specific injury or condition. Essentially there are too many factors to consider but when you get a physical therapy assessment, they can accurately diagnose the issue and give you a specific form of treatment that will best suite your needs. For example, if your livelihood depends on your physical abilities ie. a professional athlete then you may want to consider faster solutions. But if for example, you have picked up playing tennis or racketball and you feel tennis elbow coming on, then you may want to consider slower less expensive options, like physical therapy.
However, yes absolutely, PT can definitely help with tennis elbow. The ultimate goal is to gain strength and and flexibility in your arm. Specifically, we want to increase the strength and flexibility in your forearm muscles. The increased strength and flexibility of your muscles will improve the blood flow to the tendons in your forearm's which typically don't receive the same level of oxygen that muscles receive. This improved blood flow, makes it easier for your arm to heal and build strength so your don't feel tennis elbow ever again.
What is the best treatment for tennis elbow?
Getting an accurate diagnosis by a medical professional is going to be the best way to get an understanding of what the best treatment is going to be for your specific situation. There are various factors that come into play in regard to diagnosing and treating tennis elbow which is why we leave it to the professionals to diagnosis and prescribe an accurate form of treatment for tennis elbow.
How does it take to recover from tennis elbow?
It completely depends on what kind of form of treatment your medical progression or physical therapist provides. For example, if you have a really bad case of tennis elbow, your physical therapist may suggest more aggressive treatment which in case may cut the time to recover.