Is physical therapy for tennis elbow the best treatment option?

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition in which the tendons in the elbow become inflamed and painful. In cases where the tennis elbow is left without treatment, inflammation can lead to tearing or degeneration inside the elbow. Research suggests that about 2% of the population has this condition.

What are some symptoms of tennis elbow that might necessitate physical therapy?

Tennis elbow can present itself in a few different ways. Not sure if this condition is what you’re presently dealing with? Here are some of the most common symptoms of tennis elbow that might necessitate physical therapy treatment: 

  • Burning sensations on the outside of your elbow — Tennis elbow can result in a burning sensation that occurs on the outside of the elbow. However, the pain one can experience is not limited to burning. Someone with this condition might experience aching or sharp, stabbing feelings alternatively.
  • Swelling around the area of the elbow — Another symptom of tennis elbow that could necessitate physical therapy is swelling. Sometimes, those with tennis elbows may notice that their elbows become abnormally puffy or filled with excess fluid. When this occurs, it’s time to seek out a PT specialist.
  • Weakness when holding objects — It’s also common to notice weakness when holding on to objects. If your tennis elbow has caused any problems picking up or holding objects, it’s time to consult with a physical therapist for treatment details. 
  • Pain when moving your elbow — Individuals with tennis elbow may experience pain when moving their elbow in any direction. The pain may be isolated to movement and may not occur when the elbow is immobile.
  • Limited range of motion using the elbow — The elbow may become hard to move or feel stiff as a result of this condition. When someone with tennis elbow has limited mobility, it’s likely time to get treatment during PT.

What are some of the causes of tennis elbow?

There are a few possible causes of tennis elbow. Some of the most common of these are repetitive motions, inflammation from overuse and traumatic injury. People who use their elbow for the same motions every day or who have hurt their elbow in the past are more likely to experience this condition. In some very rare cases, tennis elbow can be the result of an unknown cause. When this happens, it’s called idiopathic tennis elbow.

Is physical therapy the best treatment option for tennis elbow?

Having tennis elbow can be a serious pain. You’re probably looking for treatment options to help relieve some of the pain and discomfort in your elbow. You could take NSAIDs, but those only last a few hours at a time and treat the symptom rather than the root of the problem. Then there are cortisone shots, but those usually only last a few weeks at a time, and the number of times you can get more shots is limited. Physical therapy is a great treatment option for those with tennis elbow. Here are several reasons why physical therapy is an effective treatment option for someone with tennis elbow: 

  • It can reduce swelling — One of the benefits of PT for an inflamed elbow is that it can reduce swelling. Physical therapists are specialists in reducing swelling and inflammation around areas of injury to promote healing.
  • It can decrease pain — Another benefit of PT for an injured or irritated elbow is that it can decrease pain. PT is designed to work within your pain threshold to improve symptoms and reduce pain in the long term.
  • It can improve range of motion — Physical therapy can also be used to improve the range of motion in the elbow. Gentle exercise and movement can be used intentionally to treat stiffness and limitation of movement. A physical therapist can break up scar tissue, reduce muscle tension and help eliminate other factors that are limiting the range of motion in the elbow.
  • It can prevent future injury — Physical therapy can also be used to prevent future injury from occurring. Physical therapists can show patients with tennis elbow how to build muscle around the elbow and protect the joints, tendons, and other tissue so that injury is less likely to occur again in the future.

Let Lattimore PT help you get the right physical therapy care for your tennis elbow

Lattimore Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation Network first got its start in 1992. John and Cindy Shuman, husband and wife, first launched their own physical therapy practice with the aim to improve the quality of life of each member of their community. Since 1992, Lattimore PT has opened nearly 30 locations across New York.

Our team of talented physical therapists across the state is dedicated to understanding the best treatment for you. We specialize in taking a “hands-on,” interactive approach with each of our patients to provide them with the best care possible. We love to see our patients thrive, which is why we’ll do as much as we can to help get them to that point. The physical therapists at each of our Lattimore locations take pride in their work and do their best to come to the clinic each day with a smiling face. We aim to make each physical therapy session enjoyable yet productive. The ultimate mark of success, to us, is a patient who feels positively impacted by our work. Are you ready to experience “the Lattimore way”?

We can guide you through managing your elbow pain so that your symptoms become less of a challenge to manage. If your elbow pain is interfering with your daily activities, it’s time to visit us. You shouldn’t hesitate to seek the care you need to make your tennis elbow symptoms less disruptive to your daily life. Schedule a session with us today to get started on the path toward relief. 

Contact our team today for more information or to schedule an initial appointment.

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