Treating Tennis Elbow
Tennis Elbow (Epicondylitus) is a frustrating and very debilitating injury to have. It is often misunderstood and misdiagnosed. Most people that get tennis elbow don’t even play tennis!
The mechanism of injury is usually to do with repetitive use (I.e. computer work) or over-gripping exercises of the Flexor and extensor muscles on the front and back of the forearm (I.e. weight lifting or heavy manual labour). Again this usually comes down to an imbalance or over use in these opposing muscles groups.
When dealing with tennis elbow it is very important to distinguish what structures are actually causing the problem and concentrate on effectively treating them. The common culprits are Carpi radialis longus and brevis at the side of the forearm, these muscles are often neglected as the extensor muscles on the front on the forearm usually get all the blame. Treating the Extensors alone will definitely reduce the symptoms but it will not fully rectify the problem.
It is often necessary to treat above and below the effected area when dealing with Tennis elbow i.e. the wrist, shoulder and neck as these will usually be compromised. The body will adapt over time to the condition and will compensate in these areas to relieve the stress and pain from the original injury.
While under-going soft tissue treatment it is important to strengthen up the forearm muscles. This should only be done when there is no pain while doing the rehab exercises. A great way to strengthen and balance out the opposing muscles of the forearm is to use thick handles dumbbells, barbells or Fat Grips in the gym. Not only will this balance the forearm it is also been proven to balance out weakness between your right and left arm. We are all very impatient when it comes to rehab but we have to listen to our body if we are to make a full recovery and get back to 100 percent.
With ART (Active release techniques) treatments it is much easier to identify the specific problems. Once you find the problem it is easier to treat and break down the adhesions (muscles glued together) that have formed as these techniques take the muscle through its full Range of motion, starting from a shortened position to a fully lengthened position. This type of treatment will release the tissue form the next structure in which it has been glued to. This will allow a fresh blood supply into the new found spaces between the soft tissue and the injured muscles themselves to create a healing response to the injured tissues.
It is a good idea to stretch the effected area after the treatment as this will allow the muscles to get used to its new length, increase oxygen to the area and prevent the tissues going back to the injured position.