Tennis Elbow Is Not Just for Tennis Players
A common injury in racquet sports, as well as occupations that involve repetitive activity, lateral epicondylitis (LE), otherwise known as tennis elbow, affects approximately 1% to 3% of the general population every year. Fortunately for LE sufferers, chiropractic care from the doctors, of Irondequoit Chiropractic Center, not only provides much-needed relief, but can also prevent this painful condition from returning.
While its name may suggest otherwise, less than 5% of elbow diagnoses are related to the sport of tennis. As the most common cause of elbow pain, tennis elbow results from repetitive wrist extensions that cause abrupt or slow tearing of the common extensor tendon, which is located where the forearm meets the elbow. Because these micro tears can hinder the body’s natural healing process and cause degeneration, inflammation may occur directly following an injury, but usually resolve with proper treatment.
Athletes and workers who participate in activities that require repetitive arm, elbow and wrist motion may experience tennis elbow, especially where improper biomechanics and poor posture are involved. Occupations and activities susceptible to LE include carpentry, bricklaying, tailoring, golfing, baseball, bowling and drumming. Those who frequently use a keyboard and mouse or shake hands more than usual, like politicians, are also at a higher risk of developing tennis elbow. It’s important to determine the cause of the problem as well as to relieve discomfort when treating this condition. The doctors at Irondequoit Chiropractic Center don’t just treat your symptoms but analyze why the problem is ccurring.
The pain associated with tennis elbow varies from mild to sharp, and in 75% of cases, the dominant arm is the one affected. LE usually presents as an ache on the outside of the elbow. If left untreated, tennis elbow can turn into chronic pain in a matter of weeks. Those with more severe cases of LE may have trouble performing even the simplest of tasks, like picking up a cup.
When seeking treatment, doctors will perform a thorough exam, asking the patient to flex their arm, wrist and elbow to find the source of the pain. To rule out a fracture, dislocation, infection or neoplasm, physicians may order X-rays or other types of imaging tests, such as a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
The natural course of healing for LE may take months, but with an effective treatment plan, the symptoms may resolve much more quickly. Besides avoiding activities that involve repetitive wrist extension, those with LE may be prescribed a topical ointment that contains menthol, camphor or similar ingredients – for soothing relief.
Other common forms of treatment include adjustments, ice, strengthening exercises to improve mechanics, low-level laser therapy (LLLT), therapeutic ultrasound and elastic therapeutic tape, or kinesiology taping. In some cases, mobilization and manipulation of the elbow, cervical spine and wrist can immediately decrease pain, so those suffering from LE can get back to their daily activities. This return to normal function and everyday life is the ultimate goal of chiropractic treatment.
Is Golfer’s Elbow Keeping You from the Back Nine?
Medial epicondylitis, more commonly known as golfer’s elbow, is a condition that causes pain on the inner side of the elbow. Similar to tennis elbow – albeit less common – golfer’s elbow results from overusing the muscles in the forearm. For those suffering from medial epicondylitis, chiropractic care, like that provided by Irondequoit Chiropractic Center, may speed up the recovery process, so they can return to daily functioning and hit the links once again.
In a majority of cases, golfer’s elbow strikes the dominant arm. And while the name may imply otherwise, this condition can affect golfers and non-athletes alike. The pain and occasional swelling caused by golfer’s elbow stem from the bony bump on the inner side of the elbow. However, pain can radiate into the forearm, creating further discomfort.
A number of repetitive motions, such as flexing, gripping and swinging, can lead to pulls or micro tears in the tendons. When these tiny tears occur, the body’s natural healing process will fail to regenerate normal tendons, resulting in golfer’s elbow. While the condition may occur abruptly as the result of trauma, medial epicondylitis might also result from an excessive stretching, eccentric overload or disease of a tendon, known as tendinopathy.
Golfer’s elbow is most prominent in populations that participate in activities such as golfing, throwing, racquet sports and baseball. Other potential triggers of golfer’s elbow include weight training, bowling, javelin throwing, football, archery, painting, raking, hammering, chopping wood, using a computer, performing assembly-line work and cooking. Those at a higher risk of developing golfer’s elbow include people who are ages 40 years and older, have Type II diabetes, are obese or smoke.
Medial epicondylitis presents as a dull aching pain over the affected elbow, and the pain usually worsens with use. More severe cases of golfer’s elbow may result in grip weakness and limitations in daily living, from shaking hands to opening jars.
When it comes to diagnosing golfer’s elbow, doctors usually perform what’s referred to as a golfer’s elbow test. While the patient is seated with their palms resting on their knees, the doctor will grasp the patient’s hand and elbow and simultaneously turn the hand while extending the wrist and elbow. If the pain can be reproduced, it may suggest that medial epicondylitis is at play.
On some occasions, especially in cases of trauma, a doctor may order an X-ray or MRI to rule out stress fractures, infection, tumors and other conditions.
Treatment of golfer’s elbow typically consists of chiropractic adjustment, soft tissue manipulation, stretching and myofascial release techniques to promote flexibility of forearm muscles, cervical spine manipulation and eccentric rehabilitation/strengthening of the wrist flexors and forearm pronators.
Because unmanaged golfer’s elbow can cause the sufferer to experience prolonged discomfort for extended periods of time, even more than a year, it’s critical to seek treatment if pain persists over two weeks or affects your day-to-day functioning. For experienced chiropractic care for suspected or diagnosed golfer’s elbow, turn to IronChiro, located at 2164 Hudson Ave. in Rochester, NY. A team of neuromusculoskeletal specialists are standing by to help alleviate your pain and develop an effective treatment plan to have you feeling like new. Contact the office at 707-57-CHIRO to schedule an initial consultation.