As Portland, OR is having some unusual, sunny weather in early December, tennis courts are filled with players. It is a good reminder for tennis players to be aware of risks associated with the sport. One of the common injuries is Lateral Epicondylitis. Lateral Epicondylitis or "Tennis Elbow" occurs when excess force or repetitive movements are exerted on the outside of the elbow. The lateral ligament that connects the upper arm to the lower arm can be stretched and damaged. The muscles that extend the forearm/wrist originate from the same place. This condition is called "Tennis elbow" because the lateral elbow is often times stretched beyond its normal range of motion during the swinging motion while playing tennis.
When this injury occurs it is common practice to use the P.R.I.C.E. acronym to deal with the acute inflammatory stage. There are specialized braces that help take pressure off of the ligament and muscle tissue involved. Icing the region can help decrease inflammation and help reduce pain. Pain will decrease when inflammation is controlled.
When the repair phase begins, it is common practice to start with passive stretching of the forearm extensor muscles. When these movements are tolerated, the focus will move to strengthening. Isometric strengthening is typically used first and then this increases strength without movement of the involved joint. Once this type of strengthening is tolerated, the patient can use small free weights to strengthen the forearm extensors. Strengthening exercises could help prevent future similar injuries.
A chiropractor can create personalized treatment plan for your elbow injuries. Visit a chiropractic clinic near you today to learn how chiropractic can benefit athlete performance!