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Tennis Elbow

With the warm weather just around the corner, outside activities become more popular. Tennis elbow, a.k.a Lateral Epicondylitis, presents as pain on the outside of the elbow that arises from repetitive stress and overuse. Commonly seen in tennis players, Lateral Epicondylitis can also be seen in manual laborers (turning screwdrivers, wrenches, etc.), waiters/ waitresses, painters and other jobs/ hobbies where the extensors of the forearm are commonly overused.

Due to the repetitive stress on the muscles in the forearm, specifically Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB) and to a lesser extent Extensor Digiti Minimi, the tendinous attachments of these muscles strain, micro-rupture and degrade causing pain on the outside of the elbow. Davis' Law states your muscle tries to repair itself by laying down collagen in a sporadic and disorganized way according to how the damage occurs (think applying sparkle to a hole in drywall. Until you sand it down, it is rough, bumpy and somewhat disorganized).

How do we fix it? There are a few ways: First, correction of improper biomechanics of the wrist, forearm and shoulder should be addressed. Second, let's 'sand it down'. There are numerous soft tissue techniques that can aid in breaking up the disorganized collagen fibers and allow them to reorganize in a smooth, continuous fashion. Certain taping techniques and braces are available while returning to play/ work to take the stress off the tendinous attachments as well.

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