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What is Tennis Elbow and how can Osteopathy help?

What is Tennis Elbow and how can Osteopathy help?

Written by Nathan Switkowski - Osteopath | 19th November 2021

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition which causes damage to the tendons which attach your forearm muscles to the outside of your elbow. The cause is usually multi-factorial, but commonly associated with overuse of the wrist and forearm muscles. The strain on the elbow is usually related to repetitive movements such as gripping while under load.

Who can develop Tennis Elbow?

People who play sports which involve gripping, repetitive extension of the wrist and use of the forearm muscles are at risk of developing tennis elbow. Some examples of these sports include tennis, badminton or weight lifting. Certain occupations which involves manual labour such as gardeners, carpenters and painters are also prone to developing tennis elbow. It is also possible for desk-based workers to develop tennis elbow if their job requires frequent use of the keyboard/mouse and their set-up is not ergonomically sound.

What are the common symptoms?

  • Local tenderness and pain (deep, dull ache) on the outside part of the elbow
  • Tightness in your forearm muscles
  • Weak grip strength

How can Osteopathy help?

Osteopathy treatment (massage, articulatory and muscle energy techniques) can be beneficial to reduce localised pain and muscle tightness, and address any other underlying issues which may be contributing to the injury. Your Osteopath will discuss things such as pain education and activity modification, this may include taking some time off playing your sport or adjusting your desk ergonomics. Your Osteopath may also prescribe an exercise and rehabilitation program to improve your strength and increase your range of movement.

How do I stretch the area?

Stretching should be focused on your wrist extensor muscles of the forearm. To do this, start by straightening your elbow out in front with your palm facing the floor, then flex your wrist down and curl your fingers down. Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Forearm stretch1

Can dry needling treatment help?

Dry needling is one of many techniques which can help with tennis elbow. It involves the insertion of fine acupuncture-type needles into tight muscles or trigger points, typically in the forearm region. The application of the needles aim to promote blood flow to the area, decrease muscle hypertonicity and reduce pain. Click here to find out which of our Osteopaths are trained to perform dry needling.

Forearm needling

If you think you are suffering from tennis elbow, book in with one of our Osteopaths to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan moving forward.

Nathan Switkowski is an Osteopath that works at Canterbury Health Hub. He is available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. Click here to learn more about Nathan. Book online or call (03) 9836 3688 for an appointment with Nathan.