Extensor tendinopathy (or tennis elbow) is what is known as an ‘overuse’ injury of the forearm muscles that run from the back of the hand into the elbow. People with ET complain of a strong “wavey” ache in the elbow area forearm that is worse with activity (usually activity that involves pulling the wrist back like when revving a bike throttle). Contrary to common belief ET does not involve swelling and may not respond well to anti-inflammatory gels like Voltaren. More commonly-due to the overuse activity-the muscles of the forearm are mal-aligned or have subtly moved into a position that causes pain.
ET is very common and if you believe you may have ET it needs to be diagnosed by a Physiotherapist. What you can do in the meantime is:
- Rest the involved arm and avoid any aggravating activities.
- ET responds well with physiotherapy if the arm is rested. Once diagnosed, my general Physiotherapy protocol usually will include re-positioning and relieving the muscles of the forearm with manual therapy, eccentric muscle training of the forearm muscles and assessment of the posture and alignment of the upper arms and shoulders to see if there are any contributing factors in the upper limbs.
- Recent research has shown a correlation between ET and weak triceps. So after the pain has subsided, I start my clients on an appropriate selection of tricep exercises.
If you have an injury or pain that is limiting you and what you love to do, If you have arm pain and think it might be tennis elbow related or if you simply have any questions from this blog get in-touch and I’ll be happy to offer advice and even-if required-take a look.