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Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)


Although the name may fool you, the majority of people who get tennis elbow actually don’t play tennis. Less than 5% of all people who get tennis elbow actually play tennis. The condition can actually happen to anyone. Repetitive use of your hand or wrist in ways that would cause strain, such as operating machinery or using a computer for a long time or improper technique when weight lifting are a few of the causes that can lead to tennis elbow. More often, it occurs in men, and most commonly impacts people from the ages of 30 to 50. It is a painful condition in which tendon damage causes soreness or pain around the outside of the elbow. If you think you’re experiencing tennis elbow, please setup a free consultation with one of our physical therapists in the Westchester/Bronx area.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow:

Symptoms of tennis elbow can occur suddenly, but more often than not occur from strain that develops over the course of several weeks or months. The main symptom that people with tennis elbow experience is tenderness and pain that starts around the lateral epicondyle portion of the elbow. The pain may spread down the forearm, and in rare cases it may even extend to the back of your middle and ring fingers.

Overall, the symptoms of tennis elbow include:

  • General elbow pain or discomfort
  • Pain or a burning sensation on the outer side of the elbow
  • Pain that gets worse when you bend your wrist backwards or turn your palm upwards
  • Pain when holding onto something with a stiff wrist or straightened elbow
  • Weakness that occurs as the inflammation gets worse
  • Feeling of tightness or loss of motion due to discomfort
  • Swelling of the tendon

Until meeting with a physical therapist and through the physical therapy process, you should refrain from performing any movements that cause tenderness to your arm, wrist or elbow.

Tennis Elbow Diagnosis

How does a physical therapist know for sure if you have tennis elbow? Our physical therapists perform careful manual examinations of your muscles and joints around your elbow to diagnose the problem and even help detect conditions such as muscle weakness that may have led to these problems. As an example, our physical therapists will typically ask you to perform movements that help them pinpoint the root cause of your problem. It’s only in rare circumstances where an x-ray is needed to diagnose the issue.

How a Physical Therapist Can Help?

Once our physical therapists have established the root cause of your discomfort, our physical therapists will develop a customized plan that will assist you in recovery. Each trained professional uses physical therapy methods and techniques to produce successful changes. Common interventions in the treatment of Tennis Elbow:

  • Therapeutic Exercises – these include stretching and strengthening exercises aimed at helping you to regain range of motion and strengthen your muscles and elbow.
  • Manual Therapy – this involves soft tissue massage, manual stretching, joint mobilization and other methods to reduce pain, regain mobility and range of motion.
  • Modalities – these include electrical stimulation, ice, cold laser and others techniques to decrease pain and inflammation at the elbow and tendon.
  • Home programs – our physical therapists will outline strengthening, stretching and stabilization exercises to help you perform daily tasks and aid your recovery.

Schedule a Visit with a Physical Therapist

Looking to get seen by a physical therapist to help treat your tennis elbow? We accept almost all insurances, so schedule a time to be seen at one of our 5 offices in the Bronx and Westchester.

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