Explanation: 

The most common elbow/forearm injuries are ‘Tennis elbow’ and ‘Golfers elbow’. These labels are somewhat inappropriate as they are actually more common in those who have never picked up a tennis racquet or golf club. ‘Tennis elbow’ or lateral epicondilytis presents as pain on the outside of the elbow that can spread into the muscles on the back of the forearm. It occurs due to degeneration of the tendon (tendinosis) of one of the forearm muscles near where it attaches to the elbow. ‘Golfers elbow’ or medial epicondylitis is essentially the same problem but in a tendon/muscle near where it attaches to the inside of the elbow.

Causes:

Most commonly, problems develop gradually due to overload of the forearm musculature. 

Possible causes include:

  • pain referred from the neck, upper thoracic spine and neural structures 
  • poor sitting posture
  • an adverse workstation/desk environment
  • altered muscular control of the head, neck and shoulder blade regions 

Other injuries commonly seen include fractures (post-operatively), medial collateral ligament injuries, and compartment syndromes of the forearm.

Treatment:

Physio treatment of elbow and forearm pain may include:

  • identifying and treating the underlying causes using a combination of manual therapy, soft tissue therapy, posture correction, and specific stretches and strengthening exercises to improve muscle control of the relevant regions
  • trigger pointing, dry needling and electrotherapeutic modalities such as ultrasound, which encourages the healing process
  • an ergonomic assessment to eliminate any workstation/desk issues as a potential cause of the symptoms
  • advice on heat therapy and the use of a heat-retaining brace such as a neoprene sleeve for conditions such as tennis elbow

 

See also - Jaw Pain, Shoulder, Elbow & Forearm, Wrist & Hand, Pelvic Pain, Hip & Groin, Thigh, Knee, Shin, Foot, Head & Neck, Upper Back/Thoracic Spine, Lower Back, Buttocks, Calf & Achillies Tendon, Ankle

 

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