Getting Back Out in the Yard? Watch for Tennis Elbow

by Specialized Orthopedics April 10, 2021
Watch out for tennis elbow this spring season

Watch for Tennis Elbow this Season!

With spring approaching, the snow has melted away and left a mighty mess in your yard!  If you are like me, the warmer sun and longer days have lit a fire under you to get out in the yard to begin yearly spring clean-up operations.

With that we tend to use our hands much more heavily with raking, picking up sticks and tree branches, weeding, and many other landscaping projects.  Some of you may begin to experience pain on the outside of your elbow or may begin to have trouble grasping objects tightly due to the pain.  Even simple activities such as holding a cup of coffee, typing on your computer, or writing a short note can become painful. If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you may be suffering from lateral epicondylitis, better known as Tennis Elbow!

Lateral Elbow

On the outside of your elbow is a bony prominence known as your lateral epicondyle. This bony landmark is the site of the Common Extensor Tendon which is a large and expansive tendon that connects to all the wrist and hand extensor muscles in your lateral forearm.  Sometimes through repetitive use and strain of your hands and wrists, these muscles become fatigued and tight which exerts more strain on the tendon attachment, resulting in inflammation of the Common Extensor tendon and lateral elbow pain.  If left unattended, tearing of the tendon can occasionally occur which can lead to a surgical procedure.  However, if proper treatment is performed, this can be avoided, and you will be able to return to normal activity eventually.

The first thing we would recommend is that you perform a couple of simple stretches 2-3 times per day holding each stretch for 30 seconds and repeating 3 times per session:

Wrist Extensor Stretch

Wrist Extensor Stretch

Wrist Flexor Stretch

Wrist Flexor Stretch

Cane Sup/Pron Video:

It is particularly important that each of these stretches are pain-free. If you are experiencing pain, you are pushing too hard.  Once you have completed these exercises, we recommend you ice your elbow for 15 minutes.

What's Next?

If you do not experience significant relief after performing these exercises and icing for a week, it is time to schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained Physical Therapists to further evaluate and treat your elbow pain.  One treatment that yields tremendous results and outcomes is Dry Needling of the wrist extensor muscles.  Recently, a client who had elbow pain for several years experienced 90% relief of his elbow pain after just 2 Dry Needling sessions! Call our Warwick (401) 384-6490 or North Kingstown (401) 329-0050 office today to make an appointment to rid yourself of your nagging elbow pain!

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