Elbows

Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)

Definition: Tennis elbow is caused by tears to the tendons that attach to the elbow joint. The specific muscle that causes this condition is called the extensor carpi radialis brevis. This muscle attaches to the area of the elbow called the lateral epicondyle, giving it the name "lateral epicondylitis". It is thought to be a degenerative condition caused by repetitive use.

Causes: This condition is most often seen with manual laborers such as gardeners, carpenters, painters, or participants in racquet sports. It is caused by repetitive twisting of the wrist (like using a screwdriver). It can also be caused by constant computer keyboard and mouse use.

Signs and Symptoms: Pain on the outside of the elbow that gradually worsens, pain when lifting objects or grasping items such as a coffee pot or unscrewing a jar. Pain can also radiate down the forearm and to the back of the hand. Elbow pain may occur at night or while resting, and the person may experience trouble flexing or straightening the arm, and a weakness of grip. There may also be some swelling around the elbow joint.

Treatment: Rest the arm by avoiding the activity that caused the condition for 2-3 weeks. Ice packs and ice massage as well as anti-inflammatory medications are effective. Change sporting technique or equipment. Deep tissue massage therapy and/or physiotherapy with strength and flexibility exercises are also indicated. Acupuncture treatment is useful for pain control. Wearing an elbow brace when using the affected elbow may help to speed healing.

For more information, or to book an appointment call 604-524-4446.

Sources:
1). About.com.Orthopedics.
2). PubMed Health.

Golfer’s Elbow (Medial Epicondylitis)

Definition: Golfer’s elbow is similar to tennis elbow in that they are both forms of tendonitis caused by overuse of the muscles and tendons of the forearm. This leads to inflammation and pain around the elbow joint. The pain of golfer’s elbow is usually at the elbow joint on the inside of the arm. A shooting pain sensation down the forearm is also common while gripping objects.

Causes: It is usually a repetitive stress injury where pain gradually develops. These injuries are most common at the beginning of golf season, or when the causative activity is increased in intensity and duration. Another common cause of injury is occasional carpenters who use hand tools infrequently.

Treatment: Modifying the golf or tennis swing if necessary. Ice and anti-inflammatory medications are also indicated. Stretch and strength exercises, physiotherapy and massage therapy are appropriate treatments.

For more information, or to book an appointment call 604-524-4446.

Sources:
1). About.com Orthopedics.