Lateral Epicondylitis (AKA Tennis Elbow)

Lateral epicondylitis (AKA tennis elbow) is a well-known musculoskeletal injury occurring in tennis players, tradies, painters and other racquet sports.

To understand why it happens, we need to understand the anatomy:

When looking at the elbow joint, there are three bones; the humerus, radius and ulna. At the distal end of the humerus, there are two bony bumps on the sides these are called the epicondyles, we have a medial and a lateral epicondyle. Muscles that extend the wrist share a common attachment onto the lateral epicondyle, this is called the common extensor tendon.

Now we understand the anatomy we can get a better understanding on how this injury can occur. Typically, lateral epicondylitis occurs as a result of overuse, meaning the muscles of the forearm are shortened, causing tightness and muscle load imbalance resulting in strain on the common extensor tendon. This then causes the tissue to become inflamed and irritated, leading to the pain we know as tennis elbow.

So if it’s an overuse injury, how do we prevent it? Well that’s easy! Make sure the muscles of the forearm don’t get too tight and result in changes to muscle loading. To do that, you can consult your health care practitioner to identity the muscles that are tight and gain advise on how to perform muscle release, what exercises to do and how to prevent it occurring again for the future.

Your health care practitioner can help to rehab this injury with you by providing targeted muscle releases to the muscles of the forearm, and provide manual adjustments to the elbow joint to ensure the bony structures are moving well as this can also put excess strain on the muscles.

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