Tennis elbow falls into that wide category of medical problems whose name does not really reflect their distribution or cause of onset. Whilst we do indeed see tennis players in the clinic with pain in their elbow, the majority of people we see with pain on the outside of their elbow (the classic site associated with a diagnosis of tennis elbow) have never lifted a tennis racquet in their life.
What is Tennis Elbow?
This is a question with a range of answers. Pain on the outside of the elbow can be caused by a number of things (including tennis) and the first task for us is to arrive at an accurate diagnosis to enable the best treatment to take place.
The commonest cause of what would typically be described as tennis elbow is injury to the connective tissues on the outside of the elbow. The muscles which control the wrist and hand are attached to the bone of the upper arm at the bottom end, on the bony bit you can feel if you press on the outside of your elbow. In the last few years there has been a bit of a change in the view of the medical community as to what is happening in the injured tissues. It used to be the prevailing view that the problem was one of chronic inflammation in the tissues and treatment was aimed at reducing the inflammation, be that with ice, rest or even with the use of anti-inflammatory injections such as cortisone.
In the last few years, research has shown that there is often not any inflammation in the tissues affected and in fact the tissues are degenerative. While this might seem to be just a change in the language used to describe the problem, it in fact changes the whole way we approach not just tennis elbow but a range of other connective tissue injuries including plantar fasciitis, Achilles tendon problems and jumper’s knee.
At City Physio we are active in keeping up to date with the latest research and techniques to ensure we follow best practice for our patients and this is reflected in our approach to all the problems we see in the clinic. Dominic regularly lectures on the Masters Degree programme at one of the most respected medical schools in London and this also helps to ensure we are abreast of the latest research in our field.
Why come to City Physio?
There are many potential causes of pain in the elbow in addition to local problems like tennis elbow. Nerve root irritation in the neck, frozen shoulder and elbow joint arthritis can all cause pain on the outside of the elbow and a thorough assessment will allow us to get to the root cause of your pain.
After we have taken the time to find the cause of your elbow pain we can then undertake the most appropriate treatment. If it really is related to your tennis, we may look at your technique, grip size and playing style to ensure that you have the best opportunity to return to your sport as soon as possible.
If you are having trouble with pain in your elbow we can help. Click on the link below for details on how to contact us and make an appointment.