Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a condition in which there is pain where the tendons from the forearm muscles attach to the bony protrusion on the outside of the elbow (lateral epicondyle). It is caused by inflammation of the tendons inserting at that point.
What are The Symptoms ?
There is pain over the outer side of the elbow, which may radiate into the forearm and wrist. The pain usually comes on gradually, and is made worse by repetitive straightening and bending backwards (extension) of the wrist or rotation of the forearm.
What Causes Tennis Elbow ?
Lateral Epicondylitis is Due to
- Inflammation of the tendon fibers resulting from overuse of the muscles responsible for bending back (extending) the wrist and lifting the hand.
It commonly occurs in people between the ages of 35 and 55, but does occur in other age groups too.
Although it is commonly called ‘tennis elbow’, the condition is not just caused by playing tennis. It can be caused by many other activities involving repetitive use of these muscles, such as gardening, painting, using a screwdriver or other racquet sports.
The diagnosis is based on the history and a physical examination. X-rays may be used to help rule out other causes of elbow pain, such as arthritis.
Treatment for Tennis Elbow
Treatments for Tennis Elbow Consist of
- Temporary pain relief using anti-inflammatory medication, rest, and icing the area.
- Wearing a tennis elbow brace can help to protect the tendon and it is important to avoid activities that aggravate the pain.
- Corticosteroid (cortisone) injections
- Surgery in few cases
Low Level Laser Therapy Treatment for Tennis Elbow
Low Level Laser Therapy (LLLT) is the application of red and near infrared light over injuries to stimulate cellular repair. LLLT has a powerful anti-inflammatory effect as well as a healing effect on the inflamed tendons of tennis elbow and surrounding inflamed soft tissues.
By improving circulation and increasing cellular repair functions LLLT provides an environment for your body’s own natural healing processes to be activated and restored. Once normal immune processes are restored, the excessive inflammation is reduced and healing can begin.
LLLT stimulates blood flow and lymphatic drainage, improved delivery of O2 and nutrition to the area, oxygen utilization, removal of oxygen-free radicals and other waste products, and tissue healing.
You will be encouraged to move the affected area within range of movement/pain but not exert stretch or force during the healing phase. LLLT does not exert any physical force on the tennis elbow.
The end result is resolution of inflammation and restoration of healthy tendons and local soft tissues. Once tissues are healed, pain is eliminated and normal range of motion and function is restored. Then muscle and tendon strength and flexibility can be addressed with graduated exercises and stretching.
LLLT has no known side effects, is safe and effective.