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Characterized by pain and muscle weakness, Tennis Elbow is a musculoskeletal condition that’s caused due to strain resulting from repetitive use of the forearm extensor muscle. Physiotherapy is the first line of treatment options for tennis elbow. While athletes, particularly tennis players, are at a greater risk of developing the condition, tennis elbow can affect individuals belonging to any occupation, particularly those who use computers for long hours, play musical instruments, or routinely perform any other activity that involves extensive use of the forearm muscles.
According to a research paper published in the Journal of Physiotherapy, the prevalence of tennis elbow is as high as 40% among the general population, while 50% of tennis players experience some type of elbow pain, with 80% of these complaints attributable to tennis elbow. The large number of patients experiencing pain and discomfort due to tennis elbow can benefit from physiotherapy which is a cornerstone in the treatment of the condition.
In this article, we are discussing how a physiotherapist can help patients with tennis elbow restore their mobility and strengths and educate them on ways to prevent re-occurrence of the injury.
The Multifaceted Benefits of Physiotherapy in Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is commonly treated with rest, physiotherapy, anti inflammatory medication, and steroids injections. While use of steroids injection provides immediate relief, it’s also associated with a high re-occurrence rate and side effects. Therefore, physiotherapy is generally preferred over steroids use for the management of tennis elbow.
Physiotherapy plays a multifaceted role in the management of tennis elbow. The benefits offered by this treatment technique can be divided into the following three categories.
1. Injury Prevention
Since tennis elbow is a preventable musculoskeletal condition or sports injury, a physiotherapist employs proper conditioning and strengthening exercises to individuals who are at a greater risk of developing the injury.
If you’re involved in a mechanical profession or sports, your physiotherapist works with you to identify the movements that may cause strain on the extensor muscles and suggest precautionary measures to prevent the injury. For example, your physiotherapist may recommend you to not play tennis with a small handle racket or discourage you from being involved in activities that require repeated supination.
2. Prevention of Further Damage
If left untreated, an acute elbow injury may turn into chronic tendonitis, i.e; tennis elbow. Therefore, physiotherapists pay special attention to limiting the extent of injury and its progression. During the acute phase, the use of elbow braces can provide support to the affected muscles and joints and prevent further damage. In addition to this, hasty mobilization should also be prevented to prevent breakdown of the scar tissue and promote a quick recovery.
3. Restoration of Strength and Mobility
Using massage and manipulation and sometimes acupuncture, physiotherapists can help offer relief from pain and stiffness. In addition to this, massage also improves blood flow to the affected tissues, restoring their function and strength. Physiotherapists also show strengthening exercises that patients can use to keep their arm mobile and strengthen their extensor muscles.
To learn more about how our North York physiotherapist can help you avoid tennis elbow, you contact Physiomobility at 416 444 4800 for a free consultation or to book your appointment..