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Battling Tennis Elbow: The Power of Physiotherapy.

Anyone who’s ever felt that dreaded twinge in their elbow after a particularly intense match! Today, we’re delving deep into the world of tennis elbow – what it is, how it’s assessed, and most importantly, how physiotherapy can be a game-changer in your recovery journey.

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a pesky overuse injury that doesn’t discriminate. Whether you're a seasoned pro or just a weekend warrior, the repetitive arm motions involved in sports like tennis, painting, or even typing can lead to this uncomfortable condition.

How do you know if you’re dealing with tennis elbow? Besides the obvious pain in your elbow, you might experience a dull ache that shoots down your forearm, particularly when gripping objects or lifting. Sometimes, there's a burning sensation or weakness in your hand and wrist, making simple tasks a real pain in the, well, elbow!

So, let’s talk assessment. When you suspect tennis elbow, it’s time to call in the pros – like a physiotherapist. Through a series of tests, they’ll check for pain and weakness in your elbow, wrist, and grip strength. They might also use imaging tests like X-rays or MRIs to get a closer look at what’s going on inside your elbow joint [1].

Once you’ve got your diagnosis, it’s time to roll up your sleeves and tackle treatment head-on. And this is where physiotherapy truly shines. Here’s how it can make all the difference:

1. Customised Exercise Programmes: AKA: Your Gold Standard! Physiotherapists are wizards when it comes to crafting personalised exercise routines tailored to your specific needs. These exercises focus on strengthening the muscles around your elbow while improving flexibility and range of motion [2].

2. Manual Therapy: Sometimes, your elbow needs a little hands-on TLC. Physiotherapists can perform various manual therapy techniques, like massage or joint mobilisations, to help reduce pain and stiffness in your elbow joint [3].

3. Modalities: From ultrasound to electrical stimulation, physiotherapists have an arsenal of modalities at their disposal to help ease your pain and promote healing. These techniques can improve blood flow to the affected area and reduce inflammation, giving your elbow the relief, it craves.

4. Education and Advice: Ever wonder why your elbow keeps acting up? Physiotherapists are excellent educators, providing valuable insights into the causes of your tennis elbow and offering practical advice on how to prevent future flare-ups.

5. Progress Monitoring: Recovery isn’t always a straight line, but physiotherapists are there to guide you every step of the way. They’ll monitor your progress closely, adjusting your treatment plan as needed to ensure you’re on the path to success.

So, there you have it – a closer look at how physiotherapy can be a game-changer in the battle against tennis elbow. Remember, Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither is your elbow’s recovery. With patience, perseverance, and the expert guidance of a physiotherapist, you’ll be back on the court serving aces in no time.

Until then, take care of those elbows, and keep swinging (gently)!

Our Barnet, Cockfosters & Enfield Physio's have tons of experience in dealing with all types of elbow pain. Have confidence that our specialist Physiotherapists will closely assess, diagnose & treat you in the correct & evidence-based way for all injuries. You can book an appointment here.

Blog By: Emre Oz (Musculoskeletal Physiotherapist at Crouch Physio).


[1] Nirschl, R.P. and Kraushaar, B.S., 1996. Assessment and treatment guidelines for elbow injuries. The Physician and Sportsmedicine, 24(5), pp.42-60.

[2] Alexander, L., Shim, J., Harrison, I., Moss, R., Greig, L., Pavlova, A., Parkinson, E., Maclean, C., Morrissey, D., Swinton, P. and Brandie, D., 2021. Exercise therapy for tendinopathy: a scoping review mapping interventions and outcomes.

[3] Kushner, S. and Reid, D.C., 1986. Manipulation in the treatment of tennis elbow. Journal of Orthopaedic & Sports Physical Therapy, 7(5), pp.264-272

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