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.
Most commonly these problems develop gradually due to overload of the forearm musculature. It is also very common for pain to be referred from the neck, upper thoracic spine and neural structures to the elbow and forearm. Poor sitting posture, an adverse workstation / desk environment, and altered muscular control of the head, neck and shoulder blade regions are the most common underlying causes.
Other injuries commonly seen include fractures (post-operatively), medial collateral ligament injuries, and compartment syndromes of the forearm.
Physio treatment of elbow / forearm pain involves 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, may also be used. Our physios might also carry out 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 might also be given by your physiotherapist.
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