Elbow tendonitis is a very common diagnosis that can occur with repetition or with a traumatic injury. Pain on the inside or outside of the elbow is an often too familiar feeling for some people. Often termed “tennis elbow” or “golfer’s elbow”, these diagnoses are rarely related or develop from the act of participating in these sports. The fact is that these types of tendonitis can affect anyone.
They can develop from an activity such as completing a lengthy day of yard work, starting a new hobby such as knitting, or from repetitive work related activities. Damage also happens to these tendons when something more traumatic occurs such as banging the outside of the elbow while walking by something or having the arm get pulled or jerked from an unexpected situation.
No matter what situation has caused your elbow pain, treatment of some kind is necessary for most people. Those of you that have elbow pain have chalked it up to a hard days work or a new activity of some kind. That assumption is more than likely true. We then tend to rest the arm and wait for the pain to go away, maybe giving the activity a week or two break. Often the pain will subside some, but still you can have a nagging pain in the elbow with certain daily activities that you never did before. The truth is that it is very difficult to take a break from using your arms. Most often the elbow tendonitis pain is caused from what you are doing with your wrists and hands and not necessarily how you are using your elbow. (I say “most often”; having an accurate and thorough evaluation by a professional will give you a better understanding of what structures are involved.)
The tendons and muscles that move your wrist back and forth and open and close your fist run through the forearm and most connect on a common tendon on the outside or inside of the elbow. Tendonitis is a break down in these common tendons where they insert onto the bone at the elbow. It is microscopic ripping and tearing in the tendon that causes the pain and inflammation at this area. Although most of us would try and rest the arms to see if the pain will go away, the pain and inflammation can become chronic and is more difficult or lengthy to treat. The ripping and tearing in the tendon can cause it to scar up over time, because we are unable to stop using our hands and arms altogether. This causes the condition to become chronic and nagging. Seeking treatment sooner rather than later can help tremendously to get the condition under control and healed correctly in a shorter amount of time.
Tendonitis in the elbow can involve a wide variety of structures in the arm. While your doctor may have ultimately given you a diagnosis and a referral for therapy, it is up to the therapist to go into detail and to correctly identify what specific structures are damaged and what is causing the issue. There are numerous physical therapy clinics that treat the whole body from head to toe. These therapists might have a favorite or preferred area of the body they treat, but they are “general therapists”. Choosing a specifically trained and specialized therapist for your arm conditions will ensure you are getting the best, most effective and correct diagnosis and treatment available. It is the same when choosing a surgeon for your operation; would you rather see a general surgeon or a specialist surgeon who specifically operates on conditions just like yours?
Please contact Alex Rehab today if you or someone you know is experiencing any of the pain mentioned above. I’d be happy to discuss your specific situation with you. 320.335.2515
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