‘Tennis Elbow’ and kinesitherapy

Essentially, tennis elbow or outer epicondylitis is a pathology of repetitive motion (wrist rotation, extension and rotation, etc.). Although the name implies tennis, this assignment does not occur strictly during tennis. All people who use their hands for their work (carpenter, electrician, cabinetmaker, etc.) are susceptible to epicondylitis. If your work imports repetitive movements that involve rotations of extension and flexion of the wrist.

In tennis, the mechanism is simple. Let’s take a right handed player. In order to strike a backhand, just before the ball is in position to hit it properly, the body is in a rotating position to the left, the back almost turning to the other player. The right arm will be flexed towards the left pant pocket with the wrist completely bent (meaning that your extensors will be in a state of maximum extension, like a stretched elastic, ready to propel). Having a maximum extension of the extensors of the wrist followed by a maximal explosive contraction repeatedly can in the long run create microlesions at the point of attachment of the extensor muscles of the forearm which eventually becomes a epicondylitis.

Here are some symptoms:

  • Pain on the small tubersosity bone on the external part of the elbow
  • Pain can be irradiated in the forearm
  • Pain when using your hand (giving a handshake, lifting something heavy, opening a door, etc.)

The goal of Kinesitherapy is to help the client find his optimal sporting (or work) gesture; that is to say, to recover the full amplitude of motion, with a normal force, without pain. The Kinesitherapist will try to do this without preventing the client from doing his activity. On the other hand, rest may sometimes be necessary during the first weeks of treatment. This depends on the severity of the injury. In the first sessions, the goal will be to decrease the pain and create space in the body pattern to promote healing.
This will be accomplished by techniques in fascia anti-inflammatory therapy and myofascial stretching. Thereafter the objective will be to find a more optimal amplitude of movement. This will be accomplished by passive mobilizations and stretching of the muscle chains. In complementary, the Kinesitherapist will give you relaxation exercises to do at home to keep the work done in the clinic. Once the pain part and the amplitude of movement become normal, the secret is the maintenance and prevention. Do not wait until the pain is of an intensity that prevents you from doing the sport you love.

 

By Yanic Szoghy
Sports Kinesitherapist

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