Tennis Elbow – in the non-tennis playing individual!

What is tennis elbow?

Are you someone suffering from pain on the outside of your elbow and Dr Google is telling you that you have tennis elbow, despite never touching a tennis racquet in your life? Tennis elbow, otherwise known as lateral epicondylalgia, is an overuse injury affecting the outside of your elbow resulting in pain, tenderness and substantial limitations in functionality of the upper extremity.

Clinically tennis elbow presents as pain that is aggravated with repeated movements of the elbow or wrist, pain with lifting and decreased or painful grip strength.

Lateral epicondylalgia commonly affects those in office jobs, construction/repair, cleaners and healthcare workers and is associated with repetitive bending and straightening of the elbow joint for more than 1 hour per day.

In greater depth lateral epicondylalgia is both a load related and systemic based condition that ch

aracteristically has an acute inflammatory stage and a chronic degenerative stage. Lateral epicondylalgia affects the extensor carpi radialis brevis tendon and occurs when there is weakness and decreased capacity of the tendon to manage loads resulting in micro tearing within the tendon. This micro tearing further reduces the tendons capacity and elicits a pain response with in our body such that activities of daily living such as picking up a coffee cup can be sufficient enough to trigger pain.

Lateral epicondylalgia often goes hand in hand with a mild degree of shoulder girdle weakness. When using our arms for day to day activity we require a transfer of energy along the chain from shoulder to elbow to wrist – in tennis elbow a weakness in the shoulder leads to an increased demand on the elbow and wrist and hence an overload as discussed above.

The good news is that tennis elbow is generally self limiting meaning that within 6-12 weeks you are like

ly to experience significantly less pain, improved functionality and healing of the underlying tissues.

So how can treatment help?

Treatment of tennis elbow may involve soft tissue massage, joint mobilisation/articulation and mild or gentle stretching in combination with strengthening exercises to prevent reoccurrence. The goal of treatment is to reduce the duration of symptoms and associated disability. Treatment is thought to stimulate mechanoreceptors, which in return inhibits or blocks pain signals from nociceptors reaching the brain.

Your practitioner may also suggest a brace or assist you with taping techniques of the elbow to increase your function. Taping/bracing plays a role by placing tension at point on the muscle distally to irritated/damaged tendon site promoting healing of the damaged area.

In some cases injection of cortisone may be indicated however there is research to suggest that injection may lead to poorer long term outcomes in function and movement.

Getting started – What can I do from home?

The best thing you can do to help yourself is to rest from aggravating loads – this may include avoiding repeated wrist, forearm or elbow movements. It is important not to avoid all upper limb movement as this may further decrease the ability of your tendon to load! When completing movement or exercise it is important to take note of your pain levels – if what you are doing is increasing your pain rating by more than 1/10 it is advisable to stop that activity/exercise where feasible.

Caution should be taken with stretching, as overstretching may further increase tension/load on tendon and influence the pain response – when stretching the extensor muscle group you should complete this with your elbow bent at 90 degrees and stop if pain persists. The use of ice (cryotherapy) may be of benefit in reducing the inflammatory response and assist in reducing the acutely painful elbow.

Exercises that may be beneficial in reducing pain and improving the overall function are outline below:

1. Isometric wrist extension

• Start in a seated position with your forearm resting on a table and your palm facing down.• Place your other hand on the back of your affected hand.
• Attempt to lift your affected wrist up, whilst resisting the movement with your good hand (Ensure you keep your forearm in contact with the table.)
• Hold this position for 10 seconds
• Repeat 10 times, 3 times through with a 60 second rest between sets.

2. Scapular retraction

• Start in a standing position with your arms by your side and palms facing backwards.
• Gently push your hands backwards and feel a gentle squeeze between your shoulder blades (Ensure you keep your shoulders away from your ears)
• Hold this position for 2 seconds and slowly return to starting position
• Repeat 10 times, 3 times through with a 60 second rest between sets.

We encourage you to consult a health care practitioner if your pain persists or for more personal advice and advanced care of tennis elbow.

 

Tradie Tips

Are you a Tradie? Here are 5 tips to help you manage your aches and pains

Tradies are some of the most likely members of our community to be injured at work. The most likely injuries to occur to tradespeople are low back injuries, neck/shoulder injuries and elbow injuries.
Prevention is the best form of treatment. Here are a few things for tradies to be aware of in the coming months, to help prevent injuries in the workplace.

Warm-up

A lot of trades require heavy, repetitive lifting and other activities. This can put strain on the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints of the body. It is absolutely vital that you take the necessary steps to prepare your body for the days work ahead. Some simple stretching and movement allows your soft tissues to warm up, which can decrease the risk of muscular injury.

Lift with your legs

Low back injuries are very common amongst tradespeople. This can often be associated with heavy lifting and poor lifting posture. When lifting something heavy, remember these few steps to help avoid the risk of a back injury.
– Keep your knees and hips bent.
– Keep your back as straight as possible.
– Hold the load as close to your torso as possible- closest to your centre of gravity!
– Use your gluteus and quad muscles as your main lifting muscles. These are the largest muscles in your body for a reason, so make sure you use them!
– Get somebody to help you! Assess the load, and if it is too heavy to lift on your own, make sure you ask someone to help you

Take regular breaks

Trade related work such as using power tools, overstretching your back and heavy lifting can take a serious toll on your body. It is vitally important that you take the necessary time to have a rest and a stretch ever 1-2 hours for 10-15 minutes. This will help reduce the risk of an injury, as it gives muscles, ligaments and joints time to recuperate after long periods of activity

Exercise

Although most trades work hard during the day, it is important to exercise regularly throughout the week also. Something as simple as going for a walk, or some basic resistance training can greatly reduce the chance of a workplace injury.

Don’t ignore injuries

Treatment and management of workplace related injuries can significantly reduce the effect they have on your body, and your business. Feel free to contact Peninsula Osteopathy + Allied Health to make an appointment and see what Osteopathy, Myotherapy or Exercise Physiology can do for you! Call us on 5253 2345, or book online at www.peninsulaosteopathy.com.au.

Correct lifting posture

1. approach the load- feet should be shoulder-width apart
2. bend your knees and hips
3. keep the load close to your torso
4. use your quads and glutes to drive yourself up

Desk bound? School from home? Read this!

While it may be tempting to jump on the couch or lay in bed with the laptop when based at home to do work it is important to consider the effect this may have on your posture and body.

Some of the most common complaints we see from suboptimal desk set ups include upper back and shoulder tightness/discomfort, neck pain or tightness, headaches, lower back pain and hip tightness/discomfort.

To assist we have put together a simple guide to help you with an at home office set up aimed at reducing stress and strain on the body.

1. Setting up or choosing the right chair


It is important when setting up a home office to choose a chair that comfortably supports the natural curves of the spine – the lower back support of the chair should have a nice curve that fits in with the curve of your lumbar spine/lower back
Try to choose a chair with arm rests that are either adjustable or that allow your elbows to rest comfortably beside your body with your shoulders relaxed
Aim to have knees at a height that is lower or in line with your hip level
There should be a gap of 2-3 fingers width between the front of the chair and the back of the knees
Feet should rest comfortably on the floor – if needed you can utilise a footrest or some old sturdy books under feet so that they rest comfortably on a flat surface.

2. Setting up the monitor


Aim to set up on a flat surface that allows the keyboard and mouse to be on the same surface
Aim for the screen to be distanced about one arm’s length away from the body
The top of your screen should be at or just below eye level to reduce visual strain
Avoid positions that will cause your neck to be arched backwards or your chin to be sticking out forwards
Choose a font size that easily visible and readable.

3. Keyboard and mouse


Your keyboard should be positioned straight in front of you to avoid twisting through the body
Try and position keyboard slightly away from the edge of the desk to allow forearms to rest comfortably on the desk and parallel to the ground
Your wrists should be straight and have a 90-degree angle at your elbows.

4. Desk set up


You should aim to have a comfortable clearance below your desk to allow room for your legs
Position items used regularly in a semi-circular area within a forearms distance away from the body, items used semi-regularly should be placed in a semicircular area within an arms distance from the body
If telephones are used frequently place this within the primary work zone (forearms distance semicircular area) and used in loudspeaker mode or with a headset

Get creative with household items to improve your at homework station – this can include using old books or shoe boxes to adjust monitor level, using pillows etc for added lower back support.

Are You A Tradie? 5 Tips To Help You Manage Your Aches and Pains

It’s that time of year again, all of our local trades are heading back to work after a well deserved Christmas holiday. Unfortunately, this is the time when injuries in the workplace are most likely to occur. The most likely injuries to occur to tradespeople are low back injuries, neck/shoulder injuries and elbow injuries.
Prevention is the best form of treatment. Here are a few things for tradies to be aware of in the coming months, to help prevent injuries in the workplace.

Warm-Up

A lot of trades require heavy, repetitive lifting and other activities. This can put strain on the muscles, tendons, ligaments and joints of the body. It is absolutely vital that you take the necessary steps to prepare your body for the days work ahead. Some simple stretching and movement allows your soft tissues to warm up, which can decrease the risk of muscular injury.

Lift With Your Legs

Low back injuries are very common amongst tradespeople. This can often be associated with heavy lifting and poor lifting posture. When lifting something heavy, remember these few steps to help avoid the risk of a back injury.
– Keep your knees and hips bent.
– Keep your back as straight as possible.
– Hold the load as close to your torso as possible- closest to your centre of gravity!
– Use your gluteus and quad muscles as your main lifting muscles. These are the largest muscles in your body for a reason, so make sure you use them!
– Get somebody to help you! Assess the load, and if it is too heavy to lift on your own, make sure you ask someone to help you

Take Regular Breaks

Trade related work such as using power tools, overstretching your back and heavy lifting can take a serious toll on your body. It is vitally important that you take the necessary time to have a rest and a stretch ever 1-2 hours for 10-15 minutes. This will help reduce the risk of an injury, as it gives muscles, ligaments and joints time to recuperate after long periods of activity

Exercise

Although most trades work hard during the day, it is important to exercise regularly throughout the week also. Something as simple as going for a walk, or some basic resistance training can greatly reduce the chance of a workplace injury.

Don’t Ignore Injuries

Treatment and management of workplace related injuries can significantly reduce the effect they have on your body, and your business. Feel free to contact Peninsula Osteopathy + Allied Health at any time to make an appointment and see what Osteopathy, Myotherapy or Exercise Physiology can do for you! Call us on 5253 2345, or book online at www.peninsulaosteopathy.com.au.

Before joining Peninsula Osteopathy + Allied health as an Osteopath, Hayden spent three years part-time installing underground power systems in the local area. This has given him insight into the injuries that some trades can suffer from as a result of heavy workloads.

Correct lifting posture
1. approach the load- feet should be shoulder-width apart
2. bend your knees and hips
3. keep the load close to your torso
4. use your quads and glutes to drive yourself up