Common Causes, Complaints, Diagnosis, Treatment and How Physical Therapy Can Help
“It hurts when I shake hands.”
“Flexing my wrist is painful.”
“I worked on the house and now my elbow hurts.”
Playing tennis and golf are common causes of elbow symptoms; however, many other activities can create inflammation and pain in the tendons of the elbow. These may include using a screwdriver, grasping, hammering, throwing, raking, and painting, among others.
Research consistently shows that the following contribute to most elbow complaints:
- Traumatic injuries – including fractures, dislocations, tendon/ligament ruptures, etc.
- Overuse injuries- including tendonitis, medial and lateral epicondylitis
- Chronic conditions – such as osteoarthritis, bursitis, etc.
- Tendonitis – inflammation of a tendon, such as the biceps or triceps tendons
- Lateral epicondylitis (“tennis elbow”) – pain on the outer part of the elbow which may include tenderness to the touch, pain when extending the wrist, morning elbow stiffness, and a weak or painful grip as when shaking hands.
- Medial epicondylitis (“golfer’s elbow”) – pain on the inner aspect of the elbow which is tender to the touch and painful upon flexing the wrist.
Along with skilled manual therapy, individualized stretching and strengthening and patient education, we may incorporate methods such as “iontophoresis” (delivery of an anti-inflammatory medication into the involved tissue via an electrical stimulus), soft-tissue mobilization, friction massage and joint mobilization procedures.
Our goal is to quickly restore your function, relieve your pain and get you back to your favorite activities. Golfers with elbow pain can be evaluated at our Cascade location by a Titleist certified instructor who can help to modify your swing mechanics and provide exercise tips in order to help avoid muscle imbalances which may be contributing to your pain. For throwing athletes, we can provide video analysis to help in identifying and correcting improper throwing mechanics.