TENNIS ELBOW? It’s Not What You Think!

tennis-elbow Many people will come to the sports clinic with complaints of pain on either side of their elbow which has been present for months and is aggravated by gripping things or shaking hands. While often referred to as Golfer’s or Tennis elbow, this painful tendon condition usually occurs not from playing golf or tennis but from repeatedly gripping or lifting objects improperly. Unfortunately, the condition can become severe enough where the tendons on either side of the elbow will become swollen, degenerated, and possibly torn causing persistent pain. Despite being referred to as lateral or medial epicondylitis by the medical community, this condition is known not to be an inflammatory condition. Because of this, typical anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen or Naprosyn often will not help. While steroid or “cortisone” injections can be tried and may give temporary relief, studies have shown that the condition often returns weeks to months later causing further delay in healing. The good news is that this condition can be treated non-surgically. Medical studies have revealed that a dedicated specific exercise program that concentrates on eccentric strengthening of the elbow and wrist tendons often will successfully cure the problem. Even when rehabilitation fails, other procedures less invasive than having surgery can often be performed which can significantly improve pain in 90% of the cases. So whether you are struggling with chronic elbow pain from playing doubles tennis or from lifting luggage at the airport, the physicians at SOA can evaluate your elbow problem, correctly diagnose the cause of the pain, and suggest a specific treatment regimen which will get you back on the road to recovery. Paul Lento, MD PM&R, American Medical Society Sports Medicine

2 thoughts on “TENNIS ELBOW? It’s Not What You Think!

  1. Will you please give some examples of “eccentric elbow and wrist strengthening exercises,” please?

    1. Justin, It’s always advised to see a physician prior to doing any exercise to avoid further damage. That said; one example of an eccentric exercise would be to have one end of a band anchored firmly under your foot and hold the other end in the hand on the side affected. Place your elbows straight as possible over your knee with your wrist towards the floor. Use your free hand to push your affected wrist back towards you stretching the band with it. Your free hand must do all the work to bring your wrist back. Gently let go with the supporting hand. Slowly let the band pull your wrist down towards the floor. You have now done one exercise. You will need to do this exercise fifteen times, rest for a minute, do fifteen more exercises, rest for a minute, do a final fifteen exercises. The purpose is to lengthen, not shorten a muscle or tendon. We are here to help and you can call 951-941-2663 at us for a full evaluation and series of eccentric exercises.

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