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What to Expect During a Physiotherapy Session for Tennis Elbow?

Wed Mar 22

You’ve been informed you have a tennis elbow and your elbow hurts, but you haven’t played tennis in years! To ensure you are on the proper path and that you require physiotherapy, it is important to first have a solid understanding of the issue. 

Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a typical ailment that can be managed with expert physical therapy. To succeed, tennis elbows must all be evaluated and treated individually because they are not all created equal. Here, we’ll go over some of the typical causes of tennis elbow and how to make sure your physiotherapy treatment plan is on point.

Defining tennis elbow 

Tennis elbow can be extremely uncomfortable. It arises from overusing the arm and forearm muscles (extensors). It has an impact on the hand muscles that are used for gripping, twisting, and carrying goods. While moving the wrist or hand, the ensuing pain may be felt in the elbow.

This disease can result from extended wrist and hand use. Working with a computer or using machinery are two examples. Athletes, nonathletes, kids, and adults can all experience it. Tennis elbow refers to the condition because playing the sport with a false grip or technique can worsen it. Men experience tennis elbow more frequently than women. Those between the ages of 30 and 50 are most frequently affected.

What causes tennis elbow?

Repetitive motions 

Tendons are known to fail when the strain they must withstand exceeds what their structural integrity can support or accommodate. This can occur in a single motion with force so great that the tendon tears, resulting in an acute injury, OR it can occur with numerous little forces applied rapidly enough for the body to not properly adjust. Tennis elbow is, therefore, more likely to develop in those whose work or hobbies require frequent motions of the hand, wrist, or elbow. Tennis elbow will start if you increase this exercise more quickly than your arm can adjust.

Tightness of forearms muscles 

The muscles of the forearm that help bend the elbow and stretch the wrist and fingers are connected to the tendons that are harmed by lateral epicondylitis. These muscles must be long and flexible enough to carry out all the tasks they need for normal and secure arm function. If muscle length is insufficient, the pressure on these tendons increases with activities that call for wrist, hand, and elbow motion. Tennis elbow is one of the common sports injuries that a player experiences. 

Instead of engaging in more diversified manual labour requiring a variety of arm positions and angles, people spend most of their working lives performing repetitive administrative duties and using computers. This makes it possible for muscle tension to manifest. To ensure that you have sufficient tissue length to carry out all necessary duties, your Calgary physiotherapists will assess your muscle length and mobility at your elbow, wrist, and hand in various positions and combinations. Afterwards, exercises and stretches will be advised to restore mobility to tissues that have gotten compressed.

Shoulder tightness

What does shoulder stiffness have to do with my elbow ache? It’s a straightforward response. The surrounding joints have to compensate when one joint is immobile. So, a lack of shoulder mobility will stress the wrist and elbow when doing simple tasks. Tennis elbow is particularly prone to increased wrist and elbow strain.

The shoulder may be sore due to years of bad posture or prior injury. In either case, your physical therapists should evaluate your shoulder’s range of motion to determine whether it adequately supports your upper extremity responsibilities.

How can physiotherapy help you treat tennis elbow?

You now understand the typical causes of tennis elbow and how a physiotherapist might treat them. Let’s move on to the second crucial treatment principle: time. New or “acute” injuries require considerably different care than older or “chronic” ones.

Acute injuries exhibit active inflammation, which is a process that aids in your body’s healing. To ensure that you receive a full repair, your therapist must lessen physical stress, give the area some time to relax, and employ milder treatments. Your body has already started its natural healing process. Therefore we need to establish an environment that supports it. As the injured is prepared to withstand higher loads, gradually apply stresses.

Many tennis elbows that visit our clinic have been bothersome for a while but are no longer acute. Although they no longer exhibit certain indications of an inflammatory process, they have not healed for some reason. In these situations, the physiotherapist must employ therapeutic strategies that will deliberately, carefully, and responsibly reactivate the inflammatory process. Physiotherapists frequently use pro-inflammatory treatments to restart the healing process after chronic tissue issues because inflammation is the initial stage of healing.

To restart the inflammatory process, your physiotherapist may apply hands-on tissue manipulation techniques to the affected area. Pro-inflammatory activities can strain the tissue beyond its existing capacity.


It’s clear at this point that no two tennis elbows are the same. A knowledgeable physiotherapist must determine the underlying reasons and the stage of healing you to treat your particular case of tennis elbow.