Nagging Elbow Pain: Physical Therapy in Denver
By Lea Klein, MSPT

If you have outer elbow pain that began gradually and has worsened over time, you may be one of many who experience lateral epicondylitis, or “tennis elbow.”

This condition can be caused from playing tennis, but more often than not, it develops in those who have never stepped foot on a tennis court. This condition is a degeneration and inflammation of the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle, or the outer bony prominence of the elbow.

Cause: Overuse of the wrist extensors with activities that involve cutting, gripping, twisting, or improper lifting. Any activity that requires vigorous and repetitive use of the forearm and hand can cause this condition.

Symptoms: Burning pain in the outer part of the elbow. Pain may be exacerbated by pressing the outer bony prominence of the elbow, or by gripping or lifting objects.

Diagnosis: You should see your medical practitioner to ensure that you are diagnosed properly, and that your elbow pain is not a referred pain from your neck.

Treatment: Conservative treatment for this condition involves physical therapy to gently stretch the forearm muscles, and to help alleviate inflammation with the use of soft tissue massage and modalities such as ultrasound and icing. As the condition improves, strengthening may help to prevent the problem from reoccurring. If the condition does not improve within 4-6 weeks, another treatment option is a cortisone injection before surgery is considered.

If you think you may suffer from this condition, see your medical practitioner for proper diagnosis and ask if physical therapy is an option for you.