In Lateral Epicondylitis, also known as “tennis elbow,” the tendinous attachment on the outer part of the elbow is painful and tender to touch. The muscles that pull the hand backwards become strained, inflamed, or can be partially torn. Although this can happen from playing the game of tennis, it occurs more frequently with overuse of something else, such as painting, working on cars, or other repetitive jobs or hobbies. Symptoms can also occur from a direct blow to the outside of the elbow. Small tears in the muscle begin to heal, but if the tissue is tight, it can be re-injured by continued use.
Therapy Treatment Plan: After careful evaluation by a physical or occupational therapist, the first step in treating this condition is to reduce pain and inflammation and gain flexibility in the healing muscle and tendon. Treatments may include massage, heat/cold therapy, iontophoresis, ultrasound, electric stimulation, activity modification, and use of a counterforce strap and/or wrist support. Your physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory medications, or you may receive a local steroid injection. In physical therapy, gentle stretching and isometric strengthening will be added and progressed to resistive exercises as you are able.
After your initial prescription for therapy is completed, your physician and therapist will decide if you need to continue therapy or if you will be discharged to a home exercise program.
This information is provided as a learning resource for the benefit of our patients. It is NOT INTENDED to replace personal consultation with your medical professionals.