Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow is one of those injuries everyone has heard of. It is found on the outside of the elbow/forearm, as in the picture.

The BMJ in 2011 state that ‘the condition was formerly known as “lateral epicondylitis.” Because the pathology is no longer thought to be inflammatory, the “itis” suffix is a misnomer, and it is more accurately described as a partially reversible but degenerative overuse-underuse tendinopathy. (!) Because of the length of this term, most clinicians prefer to use the informal name “tennis elbow.” 

It has a nasty reputation for being hard to treat. However, this is because the focus is often on the specific sore point of pain and not on the bigger picture. Doctors tend to treat the specific point of the tendon where the pain is felt. This is fine and can get some results from injections and anti-inflammatories.

The bigger picture is identifying the underlying reasons why the tendon is painful. This is a combination of the local pathology and the function of the whole of the upper limb and the spine. We know there is a close relationship between the nerves that run through the forearm, the neck and shoulder and the strength in the muscles around the shoulder and elbow. If you only treat the point of pain and do not address all of these causative issues then you might get short term relief but longer term the issue will return – usually in a few weeks.

We will treat the whole of the problem and we have an excellent reputation for resolving chronic issues in everyone from international pop star drummers and guitarists, cricketers, golfers, artists and even tennis players!

Mobilisation work for the neck, the back and strength work for the whole arm as well as local specific tendon strengthening is a basic. Neural mobilisation needs to be improved and we also have techniques such as Acupuncture and shockwave which have excellent results and research.

Research papers regarding tennis elbow treatment protocol found here.

The NHS website has further information on Tennis Elbow. Please click here.