Sports and musculoskeletal physician Dr Ralph Rogers continues our series on therapeutic exercises with a guide to lateral epicondylitis
Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is the most common cause of elbow pain. The cause is multifactorial. Risk factors in racquet sports include players who have recently increased their intensity of play, returned to the game after a break or are gripping the racket too tight. The diagnosis is made by clinical signs and symptoms. There is normally point tenderness over the outside of the elbow. Patients may also experience pain in the forearm. The pain is often worse when the arm and elbow perform twisting movements.
Physiotherapy along with analgesia is the first line of treatment. The literature suggests stretching and strengthening are the main components of exercise programmes.1 The exercises described here are long wrist stretches with elbow extension and long wrist stretches with combined flexion. Patients bring their arm out in front and use the other hand to pull the hand down. The stretch can be progressed by forming a fist and pulling it down.
Exercises should be repeated five times, three times a day.
Dr Ralph Rogers is a sports and musculoskeletal physician at the London Orthopaedic Clinic
The London Orthopaedic Clinic holds free monthly education sessions for GPs. For more information: www.londonorthopaedic.com
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