TENNIS ELBOW TREATMENT
Do You Have?
- Sharp or shooting pain in your forearm or at your elbow
- Dull and achy pain in forearm before, during, or after playing tennis
- Feeling or tightness or pulling in your forearm on a daily basis
How Does Active Release Technique Solve Tennis Elbow?
Classic "tennis elbow" is an injury to the forearm tendons where they attach to the elbow at the lateral epicondyle. The muscles in the forearm connect to the elbow on one end and to the fingers and wrist on the other end. When repeated stress or injury occurs to this muscle and tendon complex, it builds up layers of inflexible scar tissue. This binds up the muscles, placing an increased amount of tension on the tendons in the elbow and wrist. Over time, this increased tension and tissue friction can lead to chronic inflammation and pain in the elbow region.
This condition is most often seen in racket sport athletes such as those who play tennis and is usually associated with back hand swings. Others can develop this condition without ever having played tennis such as carpenters, plumbers, mechan-ics, office workers, or those with computer jobs, etc. Symptoms are usually gradual, characterized by localized pain in the elbow, weakness with grasping, and pain or difficulty with motions such as opening door knobs.
How Do We Fix It?
Active Release Technique (A.R.T.) treatments reduces the physical strain to these forearm tendons by increasing the length of the forearm muscles. This decreases the mechanical stress and friction to the forearm muscles and tendons where they attach at the elbow. By decreasing the mechanical stress that causes scar tissue to form, the body now can allow healing process to begin. If this cyclical inflammatory process is not reversed at an early stage, you run the risk of permanent organization of fibrin, soft tissue adhesions, and permanent scar tissue formation. These may perpetuate constant elbow pain both during and after activity. Most individuals with tennis elbow will see improvement in their condition in about 2 to 4 weeks with A.R.T. treatments. The rest of the improvement occurs when rehab techniques are implemented, subtle changes in swing technique are made, or alterations in work related habits.
More involved cases may require some level of rest, or sometimes just decreasing exercise intensity or frequency. It will also require stretching, strengthening exercises, and a gradual reconditioning of the fore-arm muscles to facilitate restored range of motion, functionality, and endurance. We have approximately a 90% success rate with this condition with 10% needing to use other techniques such as cortisone shots or prolonged rest from the activities that aggravate their condition. Your doctor will be sure to give recommendations based on the exam findings, and will discuss proper treatment options.