How to Relieve Tennis or Golfer’s Elbow

Elbow pain is a common affliction for many people.

A common example of this is lateral epicondylosis and medial epicondylosis, better known respectively by the layman terms tennis elbow and golfers elbow.

Initially these injuries were regarded as inflammatory conditions but research has shown that these  occur due to progressive degenerative changes in connective tissue health.  These two injuries are a form of tendinopathy.  Other forms of tendinopathy include achilles tendinopathy, gluteal tendinopathy, and hamstring tendinopathy.

Tennis elbow (or lateral epicondylosis) is the more common of the two presentations.  The term epicondylosis comes from epicondyle (an attachment point located on the lower point of the humerus for the common extensor tendon) and osis (a medical suffix meaning a process or condition, usually abnormal or diseased).

What type of process or changes occur in this condition?

Repetitive trauma to a tendon (for example through tennis, or excessive gripping) can result in micro-tears in the tendon.  This is especially liable to happen when the tendon crosses 2 joints or passes over a convex surface.  When these micro-tears occur it can result in the production of type 3 collagen (instead of the usual type 1 collagen found in healthy tendons) and also fibres that are fragmented and no longer parallel.  There can also be changes to blood supply due to an increase of abnormal and immature blood vessels.  This is detrimental to the healing process as tendons already have a limited blood supply in comparison to other structures such as muscles.  This explains why the healing time for tendinopathies is generally longer than the healing time for muscle tears and strains.

What to do if you think you have tennis or golfers elbow?

Generally these conditions are classified as self-limiting which indicates that they will generally resolve with no intervention within 1 year.

If you would rather not be in pain for a year and would like to be proactive in the healing process then here are steps you can take to make this a much shorter recovery period.  

1. Avoid aggravating activities – yes it may mean stopping tennis or golf for a short time period in order to restrict further tendon damage and irritation.

2. Seek treatment including soft tissue massage and dry needling for pain modulation, improving blood supply, and encouraging tendinous collagen repair.

3. Stretching and strengthening – gentle stretches and eccentric exercises to promote tissue repair.  Tendons heal faster if they are exposed to targeted mechanical stimulus such as prescribed stretching and strengthening exercises.

One of the best tools to help in your recovery is a flexbar which targets the tendon in a safe loaded manner when used correctly.  Optimum Wellbeing stocks these products at a reasonable price and can assist in guiding a patient through their use.   

For more information read here Come and see us at Optimum Wellbeing, Worongary, Gold Coast, Osteopathy, Naturopathy and Massage

Josh Cutter is an experienced Osteopath treating from Optimum Wellbeing, Gold Coast 07 5530 7921 – Book Now for your appointment and begin your treatment.

Osteopathy Australia