Treatment of Tennis Elbow
By Graceville Physio Joni Levine
Tennis elbow is an overuse injury of our forearm muscles that affects the common tendon of these muscles that is situated on the outer part of our elbow. It affects approximately 1-3% of all people, but this figure increases to about 10% for ‘at-risk’ populations including several sporting populations (not just tennis players!), office workers, chefs and manual labourers.
The term “tennis elbow” was coined as it affects many tennis players due to the increased strain on their forearm muscles, but we see many different patients who suffer from tennis elbow who don’t play tennis! Tennis elbow has a tendency to hang around, so getting on top of symptoms quickly is paramount.
Physiotherapy is an effective form of treatment for tennis elbow and has been shown to be more effective than steroid injections, bracing and “wait-and-see” (i.e. doing nothing). Our physiotherapists use many different types of treatment for tennis elbow, depending on the patient and what we think will work best for them. This includes soft tissue massage, joint mobilisations, dry needling, stretching exercises, strengthening exercises, load management, ergonomics, advice and education, taping, instrumented assisted massage and electrotherapy agents.
If you have any questions about tennis elbow or would like to book in to see one of our physiotherapists for treatment of tennis elbow, please contact us today and we would be happy to help.
New Class Starting
Physio led clinical pilates
Wednesdays at 10am
Our Clinical Physio led pilates classes are ideal for anyone needing to strengthen their core. This may be so that you can continue to perform daily tasks well and without causing pain, enhance your performance in the gym or on the field, strengthen your body following spinal or other surgery and for those of you trying to actually avoid surgery. If you suffer with chronic lower back pain you may benefit from guided pilates used as a part of therapy and rehabilitation. Class size is limited in order for the physio to give you personal one on one direction. Max 5 participanats per class. Health fund rebatable.
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Iliotibial Band Syndrome
Causes – Symptoms – Treatment
The Iliotibial band is a thick tendon that inserts on the outside of your knee. The function of the Iliotibial band is to help slow movement and torque at your knee during impact. Iliotibial band syndrome is a common cause of knee pain in runners.
The cause is repetitive trauma to the Iliotibial band insertion on the outside of the knee resulting in tendonitis and severe lateral knee pain while running. Eventually this condition will result in degeneration of the tendon and progress to a condition called tendinosis. This means there will be excessive tightness due to abnormal scar formation and may become a source of chronic knee pain for the runner.
A thorough subjective and objective examination from your physiotherapist is usually sufficient to diagnose Iliotibial band syndrome, investigations such as an ultrasound or MRI may be used to assist with diagnosis.
Most cases of Iliotibial band syndrome settle well with appropriate physiotherapy. This requires careful assessment by the physiotherapist to determine which factors have contributed to the development of the condition, with subsequent correction of these factors.
The success rate of treatment is largely dictated by patient compliance.
The key components of treatment are …
The patient rests sufficiently from ANY activity that increases their pain until they are symptom free. Activities which place large amounts of stress through the ITB should be minimised, these include: running, squatting, jumping, and going up and down stairs.
Exercising into pain must also be avoided. This allows the body to begin the healing process in the absence of further tissue damage. Once the patient can perform these activities pain free, a gradual return to these activities is indicated provided there is no increase in symptoms.
Ignoring symptoms or adopting a ‘no pain, no gain’ attitude is likely to lead to the problem becoming chronic. Immediate, appropriate treatment in patients with this condition is essential to ensure a speedy recovery. Once the condition is chronic, healing slows significantly resulting in markedly increased recovery times.
The R.I.C.E regime is beneficial in the initial phase of the injury (first 72 hours) or when inflammatory signs are present (i.e. morning pain or pain with rest). The use of a compression bandage and keeping the leg elevated.
Anti-inflammatory medication may also significantly hasten the healing process by reducing the pain and swelling associated with inflammation.
Exercises. Patients should perform pain-free flexibility and strengthening exercises as part of their rehabilitation to ensure an optimal outcome. One of the key components of rehabilitation is pain-free stretching of the ITB along with pain-free strengthening of the vastus medialis obliquus muscle (VMO). This is often in combination with core stability, pelvic and gluteal strengthening exercises to improve the control of the knee with weight-bearing activities.
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