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Tennis Elbow?...but I don't play tennis!!

September 4, 2019

Let me guess. You’ve pulled up really sore after doing the gardening that you promised yourself you’d do 6 months ago. Now you can hardly move your arm, & the Doc said you’ve got Tennis Elbow!

But don’t you need to actually play tennis?

Not exactly…

On the bottom section of your upper arm (humerus) there is a bony landmark called the lateral epicondyle. It’s what you feel as the ‘outside’ of your elbow. There are six muscles that attach at this site, making it extremely easy to irritate.

Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB)

Extensor Digitorum

Extensor Digiti Minimi

Extensor Carpi Ulnaris



Don’t get too caught up on the muscle names, they’re just fancy ways of saying “the muscles that lift your wrist & fingers upwards, & twist your hand outward”. These muscles are prone to overuse injuries, because of the fact that we are always using our hands. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a tradie or an office worker, the risk of this injury is the same.

The scientific name is Lateral Epicondylitis, & it gets its name Tennis Elbow by being the most common overuse injury of the elbow for racket sports.

You will usually feel pain & weakness when grabbing & grasping, & actions like turning a door knob will become difficult. It’s also very common for the pain to wake you from your sleep.

So, how do you fix it?

As with all my patient’s conditions, I begin by explaining the injury, treating the affected area/areas, then educating the patient on how to effectively manage it.

This is the easiest & most effective stretch to do at home, to help lengthen the extensor muscles.

I also teach my patients how to use a tennis ball/spikey ball for self-release, which will help to maximise the effects of their Myotherapy treatment.

The most effective exercises to help re-strengthen the affected muscles include:

Reverse wrist curls

Elastic band finger extensions

The average recovery time for this condition is usually less than 3 months, considering you are receiving regular physical therapy, & adhering to your home-exercise-plan.

Thanks for taking the time to read this article, & I hope it gives you an insight into Tennis Elbow. Next week I’ll be talking about Plantar Fasciitis.

Enjoy your weekend,


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