Exercise For Orthopedic Patients
What is Lateral Epicondylitis?
Lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow as it is more commonly known, is a disorder involving the outside region of the elbow. It occurs when small tears form to the tendons that attach to this area and cause pain and inflammation.
The symptoms for this condition range from a dull ache to severe pain, which has been described as burning, stabbing, or sharp pain. The intensity of the pain is typically worse with gripping activities, such as opening jars or lifting objects, and may subside during periods of rest.
Lateral epicondylitis occurs most commonly in people who perform repetitive motions using their arms and wrist, such as tennis players and assembly line workers.
Other causes include;
- Repetitive bending of the wrist backward, which can be caused by typing.
- Positioning your hand with the palm down for long periods of time.
- Carpal tunnel syndrome, in which there is pressure on the median nerve that runs from the forearm into the palm.
- Muscle Imbalances resulting in one set of muscles being stronger than the opposing muscles.
Lateral Epicondylitis Treatment Options
The best way to treat tennis elbow is through conservative methods. Treatment options include:
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, reduce inflammation and pain.
- Corticosteroid injections in the inflamed area.
- Wearing a tennis elbow splint, which is a band that wraps around your forearm to reduce stress on the injured area.
- A physical therapist can teach you exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles of your arm and hand.
Lateral Epicondylitis Stretches
If you experience constant and repetitive stress actioned on your arm; stretches are ideal in improving tendon resistance and promote endurance of your muscles. While you may experience discomfort while conducting these exercises, you shouldn’t feel pain.
The best lateral epicondylitis stretches;
1) Wrist Extension Stretch
Extend your arm in front of you with a straight elbow, palm facing down, then slowly turn your wrist so the fingers are facing up, gently apply pressure with your other hand. Hold for 15 seconds and repeat stretch 8-10 times per day, 5 times on each occasion, and 7 times a week. Alternate your arms after each 15-sec duration.
For strengthening purposes, you can add weights, but you’ll have to use a bench either standing or in a seated position. Place your arm with palms facing down bend your wrist as far as possible. To begin, you can perform the task without weights and gradually increased from 1 lb to 3 lb.
2) Wrist Flexion Stretch
Extend your arm out in front of you and bend the wrist so your fingers pointing toward the floor, using your other hand stretch your wrist towards your body, switch hands after 15 seconds, and repeat 5 times. Do the stretch 8-10 times per day.
One thing to note, these exercises should be conducted as warm-up more strenuous activities. For strengthening purposes, you can also add weights, but this time around, place your arm on a bench with palms facing up.
Do Not Ignore Lateral Epicondylitis Symptoms
Lateral epicondylitis can be an extremely painful condition, so it’s advisable not to ignore the warning signs. If you frequently battle this injury, take some time out of your daily schedule to complete these stretches and strengthen your arm.
The estimated duration for this exercise is between 6-12 weeks. Constantly practicing lateral epicondylitis therapy exercises may just save you from any future discomfort.
“One of the great ways to prevent these kinds of injuries is to exercise,” says Brian Brown from bbbrownfitness.com