Case Study-Tennis Elbow

  • 2nd September 2017

Mr JH had been suffering elbow pain for 3 months prior to attending his physiotherapy appointment, which had progressively been deteriorating. He was working in the construction business, requiring a fair amount of manual work, handling heavy equipment, and his symptoms had begun after some heavy hammering work.

Having experienced significant loss of grip strength on his affected side, and accompanied by nonresolving tenderness on the outside of his elbow, made worse by gripping and carrying objects, he decided to consult us at Physio Fitness.

On assessment, Mr JH was diagnosed and treated for tennis elbow (lateral epicondylagia/lateral
epicondylitis). Treatment consisted of specialised manual therapy, electrotherapy, exercise therapy, and
acupuncture. On completion of his physiotherapy treatment, he was able to return to normal work activity,symptom free.

Tennis elbow is a painful condition of the outside aspect of the elbow. Many sports including racquet
sports can cause this condition. Often, the cause can be any activity leading to the overuse of the elbow
muscles in lifting or other recreational or work activities.

Tennis elbow involves the muscles and tendons of the forearm. These are specific to the forearm muscles
that straighten or extend the wrist and fingers. These forearm tendons attach the muscles (the extensors) to a bony prominence known as the lateral epicondyle.

Tennis elbow is an inflammation or tendinopathy of the attachments of these muscles to the elbow. The
tendon attachments become damaged from overuse — repetition of the same motions again and again.
This can lead to a breakdown of the tendon tissue at a microscopic level, which leads to pain on the outside of the elbow. Often, grip strength is diminished.

A tailored physiotherapy treatment program will facilitate the effective healing of these tissues, while
strengthening and adapting them to resist and tolerate the offending activities, and to prevent relapse.

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