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Tennis Elbow

'What is tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)?'

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) refers to an inflammation or tendonitis of the common extensor tendon at the outside of the elbow (lateral epicondyle of the humerus). The common extensor tendon is made of finger extenor and wrist extensor muscles. Tendonitis simply means inflammation (-itis) of a tendon or tendons.

'What are tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) symptoms'

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) symptoms are most commonly pain and weakness at the outside of the elbow, especially upon gripping, wrist extension and/or finger extension.

'What causes tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis)?'

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is caused by an overuse of or trauma to the finger extensor muscles and/or wrist extensor muscles of the forearm. Tennis elbow is most often brought on by an underlying extensor vs. flexor imbalance resulting from poor elbow muscle training techniques in sports, music or in the workplace. Extensor tendons are open to injury when they weak, imbalanced and lacking in proper blood flow.

Finger extensor muscle tone vs. finger flexor muscle tone contributes to elbow joint stability. The imbalance of finger muscle ratio (extensors vs. flexors) is a vital, yet overlooked, factor in both tennis and golfer's elbow.

9 muscles close the hand and 9 muscles open the hand. These muscles originate equally on the front and back of the elbow. Dominant hand closing muscles (resulting from repetitive gripping, grasping and finger flexion activities) result in elbow imbalance. Finger extensor tendons are underprepared and lack blood flow and are prone to injury. The same hand muscle imbalance leads to carpal tunnel syndrome, golfer's elbow and DeQuervain's Syndrome.

Wrist extensor vs. wrist flexor muscle ratios must also be balanced in order to stabilize the elbow and prevent both tennis elbow and golfer's elbow.

Tennis Elbow Treatment/Tennis Elbow Exercise

Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) exercises using Handmaster Plus (see distributors) (or Buy Now) must be included as part of any tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) treatment protocol. The best tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) treatment is prevention ("prehabilitation"), using Handmaster Plus regularly where red-flagged repetitive gripping/grasping activities exist. Handmaster Plus offers a specific exercise (see exercise #2) for both tennis and golfer's elbow rehabilitation.

The experts in tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) treatment are practitioners of ART (active release technique) and Graston Technique. They are generally easy to locate in North America through practitioner searches. Otherwise, contact your local chiropractic, physiotherapy and massage therapy associations.

Drugs or surgery, such as steroid injection, tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) surgery, as a tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) treatment should be considered only as a last resort.