Two common injuries to the elbow include lateral epicondylitis (lateral epicondylosis) also referred to as tennis elbow and medial epicondylitis (medial epicondylosis) also referred to as golfers elbow. Pain can be associated with both types of injuries, but is not always present. With tennis elbow, some people can feel symptoms on the outside of their elbow, whereas with golfer’s elbow, some people can experience symptoms on the inside of their elbow. Although these are common injuries to the elbow, other reasons for lateral elbow pain can include bicep tendinitis, radio-ulnar joint dysfunction, radio-humeral dysfunction, etc. Other injuries to the medial aspect of the elbow can include ulnar collateral ligament dysfunction/tear, humero-ulnar dysfucntion, etc. Please seek the assistance of an Orthology physical therapist or chiropractor for an examination to help get to the root cause of your elbow pain.
Lateral epicondylosis (tennis elbow) is usually caused by repetitive strain of the extensor muscles in the forearm, excessive use of the extensor muscles in a shortened position, forceful gripping, or ballistic eccentric load of the wrist extensors as with striking a ball backhand in tennis or racquetball. Medial epicondylosis (golfer’s elbow) follows a similar pattern but affects the flexors of the wrist, so activities like golfing, pruning shrubs can cause the muscles to be overexerted and predispose one to have long term difficulty with such activities, without intervention. With both conditions, it is always recommended to have a proper ergonomic set-up, as our ergonomics at your work station may also lead to the development of elbow pain. With this increased strain to the muscles in the forearm the tendinous insertion of the muscles is often irritated and/or inflamed. Over time, this tendon irritation can lead to lead to further damage of the tendon.
In treating these types of overuse, tendinous conditions, our providers at Orthology, which include chiropractors and physical therapists, provide manual treatments such as transverse friction massage and myofascial techniques. These techniques help to speed up the healing process as well as re-set the tissues prior to adding strength and stability to the tissues. Our providers will look on how your joints are moving from your hand and wrist all the way to your shoulder and neck, as all of these joints can influence your elbow rehabilitation. We then will focus on the stability of the elbow with manually resisted exercises as well as eccentric exercises to help lengthen and strengthen the tissues in order to allow you to use your arm with proper muscle recruitment patterns. Another important part of the rehabilitation process is learning how to perform these self cares and exercises at home in order to prevent further injury. Contrary to some, we also recommend using heat on these types of injuries in order to mimic the bodies natural healing process and one shoulder avoid using non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, as they can slow the recovery process.
As you can see, elbow pain can more complex than we think. So if you have experienced or are currently experiencing elbow pain, please seek the expertise of our chiropractors and physical therapists at Orthology. Our providers will help you get back on track doing the activities you love to do and educate you on how to prevent further injury.