Golfers and Tennis Elbow
By Jacqueline Flexney-Briscoe
One of the most frequent injuries to the arm is tennis elbow - not alas confined to tennis players. Other sports and every day activities can cause it such as gardening and lifting. The muscles on the back of the forearm, which straighten the fingers and pull the wrist backwards, merge into one tendon on the bony part of the outside of the elbow. This is the common extensor tendon which can be strained by activities which overwork or over stretch the forearm muscles, like hard gripping movements or excessive wrist movements. It can be caused by tennis usually when playing a backhand. The sudden force of the ball bending the wrist forward whilst gripping the tennis racket handle tightly damages the common extensor tendon.
Once the tendon has become inflamed any use of the muscles of the forearm can cause pain at the elbow and often down the forearm. Gripping, lifting and straightening the elbow can all cause pain. The patient complains of a gradually increasing pain over the outer bony part of the elbow which is quite severe on certain movements. When tennis elbow is very acute the pain is constant and any movements that stress the tendon such as gripping, lifting and even fine movements like pinching, writing or using a knife and fork can aggravate the elbow. The tendon also feels tender and sore to touch. Patients with these early signs of tennis elbow need to seek professional medical attention as soon as possible. Even if the condition has been there a long time it can still be treated.
Golfers elbow is due to overuse or injury to the tendon on the inside of the elbow. Occasionally it IS caused by playing golf! Golfer's Elbow is the same as Tennis Elbow but the problem is on the inside of the elbow. It is due to overuse or injury to the tendon on the inside of the elbow and occasionally it IS caused by playing golf. The muscles from the inside of the forearm that flex the fingers towards the palm and bend the wrist forward blend into one tendon - the common flexor tendon - which attaches to the bony part of the elbow on the inside. Golfer's elbow can be caused by golf, as the name suggests, by constantly taking the divot with the ball, but it is far from being exclusive to golfers. Overstraining the wrist, either by bending it repetitively or by twisting it sideways can bring it on. This may even be as a result of faulty technique in racket sports or an unaccustomed activity using the wrist. If you have these early signs of golfer's elbow you need to seek professional medical attention as soon as possible. If you have had the condition a long time, be assured it can still be treated.
Resting the arm will help to prevent aggravation - golfers elbow and tennis elbow are not conditions that you can exercise through. Treatment with Connective Tissue Manipulation and Manual Lymph Drainage will help to reduce the pain and stiffness and restore normal movement and function. By improving the circulation to the tendon it is able to settle the inflammation down and heal more quickly. By reducing the tension in the tendon the fibres are able to glide on each other and allow movement without causing discomfort and pain.
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Jacqueline is one of a few UK Physiotherapists combining Connective Tissue Manipulation, Manual Lymph Drainage, the MacKenzie Exercise Regime and Cranio-sacral Therapy in private practice. During the past four years she has successfully treated over 1,000 patients with spinal problems and a further 1,300 patients with other muscular skeletal problems in her Gillingham Physio Centre in Dorset. In order to offer her specialist techniques to a greater number of patients she started the London Physio Centre at 148 Harley Street.
A Chartered and State Registered Physiotherapist, Jacqueline qualified at St Thomas's Hospital, London with additional emphasis in the treatment of backs and necks. She spent five years at the Leicester Royal Infirmary gaining experience in all branches of physiotherapy and became Senior Physiotherapist on the Medical Unit. In 1977 she created a private practice at the Leicester Clinic, eventually covering all orthopaedic, spinal and post-op physiotherapy.
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