What Is Tennis Elbow, and How Do I Treat It?

What Is Tennis Elbow And How Do I Treat It

Have you been experiencing elbow pain or soreness? Even if you haven’t been serving up aces, you may have a case of tennis elbow.

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, refers to pain that occurs when tendons in your elbow are overworked, usually by repetitive motions in your wrist and arm. Tennis players represent the majority of people who frequently practice these types of repetitive motions, hence the name association.

However, tennis elbow is a condition that can affect anyone, not just tennis players! Doctors at Decker Chiropractic are here to break down the causes and symptoms of tennis elbow and break down the treatment and healing process!

Tennis Elbow: Anatomy

In order to fully understand tennis elbow, it’s important to first have a clear vision of the bones and tendons in your arm.

There are three bones in your arms: the upper arm bone, called the humerus, and the radius and ulna, which are in your forearm. Muscles, ligaments, and tendons hold your elbow joint together, and are responsible for your ability to grip, twist, and carry objects.

Tendons, also called extensors, attach your muscles to your bones. The tendon that is usually affected by tennis elbow is called the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB).

How Tennis Elbow Affects Your Arm

The ECRB tendon stabilizes your wrist when your elbow is straight. A tennis groundstroke, for example, requires a player’s arm to be extended and stabilized as they swing their racquet and connect with the oncoming tennis ball.

When the ECRB tendon is overused, it becomes weakened, and microscopic tears can form where the tendon attaches to the bone. This, of course, leads to inflammation and pain in your elbow.

The ECRB and attached muscles can also rub against the ends of your bones within your elbow if they are being repeatedly bent and straightened. This can also cause wear and tear, leading to the same inflammation and pain.

Tennis Elbow Symptoms and Statistics

Symptoms of tennis elbow can occur suddenly from an injury due to excessive motion in your wrist or arm. However, it’s more common for symptoms to appear gradually over weeks and months.

Symptoms of tennis elbow include:

  • Pain or burning in the outside of your elbow.
  • Pain that radiates from your elbow to your wrist.
  • Weak grip strength, and difficulty holding or handling small objects.
  • Stiffness in your elbow.

More facts to know about tennis elbow:

  • Tennis elbow occurs more often in men than women.
  • Tennis elbow is thought to affect between 1 and 3 percent of the US population.
  • Most commonly affects people between the ages of 30 to 50.
  • 50 percent of all tennis players will experience tennis elbow at some point.

Tennis Elbow Treatment

Approximately 80-95% of patients that are diagnosed with tennis elbow find success through nonsurgical treatment.

Treatment for tennis elbow has advanced past simple techniques such as icing and rest or immobilization. New physical therapy techniques like specific elbow and wrist adjustments, cold therapy laser and acupuncture,  from experienced chiropractors, such as the staff at Decker Chiropractic in Olathe, can help you recover your elbow and wrist strength!

A technique called the Tyler Twist incorporates a wrist extensor exercise using a flexible rubber bar. The technique was proven so effective in treating tennis elbow that researchers stopped the trial halfway through so that the control group could experience the benefit of the treatment!

Along with specific therapy, your chiropractor can recommend wearing an elbow brace to ease the stress on the tendon and muscles while your elbow heals and recovers.

Decker Chiropractic in Olathe Serves Up Aces

Our doctors at Decker Chiropractic can help you get back on the court! We offer clients in Olathe the best physical therapy practices along with chiropractic and acupuncture care.

Connect with your trusted team at Decker Chiropractic to schedule an appointment today!