Tennis Elbow Physical Therapists
Tennis elbow physical therapy has been an important recovery tool for a variety of elbow injuries. It addresses damage that happens for more than just tennis-related problems. You may undergo physical therapy treatment for a broken or fractured elbow, strains from playing other sports like golf or football and overuse injuries from your work.
Elbow physical therapy allows you to take the steps needed to get back in whatever game you play with full use of your arm and equally functional mobility.
Tennis elbow is an injury that happens when the tendons and muscles connecting your forearm to your elbow get overused or used improperly. This mostly causes soreness and tenderness, as well as a weakening of your grip, which is a common side effect for tennis players. After your injury, it probably becomes harder to do a number of physical tasks with your injured arm without a healthy round of physical therapy (PT).
The name “tennis elbow” was coined because it seemed that tennis players were the ones who more readily developed this condition. It’s used at times to explain some other sports injuries as well, like those that often occur to baseball players and golfers. While not life-threatening, it may be career-threatening if you have a career in these sports.
Also, if you have a job that involves a lot of repetitive use of your forearm muscles, you may easily injure your elbow at work in a way that mimics tennis elbow. On its own, tennis elbow isn’t usually severe. Problems mount, however, when you don’t get the proper treatment.
The best step to take is to visit TRI Physical Therapy in Brooklyn for a treatment regimen so that your tennis elbow doesn’t become chronic. If you treat it promptly and properly, you can avoid surgery or another long-lasting injury.
The First Line of Defense
The first thing most physical therapists recommend is to stop doing whatever activity that caused your tennis elbow. Of course, this isn’t practical if you have to use your arms for work, but there are other possibilities. Tennis elbow PT often begins with wearing a brace that’s recommended by your therapist. It’s a temporary, protective measure that you may need to wear for a while. Your NYC physical therapist explains when it’s best to wear it and how long you’ll need it.
Once you start your physical therapy treatments, you’re taught how to make slight adjustments to your physical motions to ease your discomfort. Learning new ways to move may even prevent your condition from returning! If you’re able to refrain from whatever activities are causing your pain, that’s always the best start. Sometimes, even a few weeks off the tennis court can do the trick if your physical therapist recommends sufficient rest.
It’s Not All Work
Many PT professionals give you a few more enjoyable, or at least less aggressive, suggestions to alleviate pain and give your arm a decent rest. Many of the suggestions are treatments that your NYC physical therapist offers, but a few are steps you’re encouraged to do at home.
If you were referred to the physical therapy practice by your doctor, you can rest assured that your medical practitioners — both your doctor and therapist — have approved the treatment procedures. Several of the easier physical therapy activities you’re given to do before moving on to other, more rigorous treatments include:
- Massages in the affected area can be helpful in alleviating your pain and loosening up your muscles.
- Soaking your arm in hot water with mineral salts is a soothing substitute for discomfort.
- Ice packs held in place for a period of time — about 20 minutes — can reduce inflammation.
- Aspirin or other over-the-counter pain relievers also reduce swelling and take the edge off minor pain.
- Kinesiotape is a PT tool that’s popular because it’s non-invasive and can be taken off periodically if you need to shower or if it becomes uncomfortable.
Physical Therapy and Exercises
The goal of physical therapy for tennis elbow is to prevent it becoming a chronic injury, while repairing and strengthening your muscles and ligaments. Other than rest, stretching is one of the best ways to combat tennis elbow. Your wrist is connected by tendons and muscles to your elbow, so proper wrist exercises benefit your elbow.
Your physical therapist shows several good stretches. For example, extend your arm out in front of you and either pull your fingers back toward you so that your wrist bends upward or pull down on the knuckle side of your fingers so that your wrist bends downward. Listen to your therapist about which position is best for you.
Other exercises for tennis elbow recovery include:
- Moving your wrist in a circular motion
- Holding a small weight and gently squeezing it to exercise your grip.
- Extending your arm slightly and twisting your arm back and forth as if you were turning a doorknob.
What to Do for Breaks and Fractures
Because the elbow is a complex joint, healing from a fracture may take very different forms, depending on the extent of your injury. PT for a broken elbow requires a different approach from other injuries. For example, some fractures are stable, meaning that you can move the joint, while others need to stay completely immobile to avoid further injury.
Once you’re healed enough, your physical therapy involves regaining strength and range of motion. You may need a lot of practice to perform simple motions. You’re taken through a round of exercises designed to help you regain function after an elbow fracture. With patience, persistence and the best PT, you can heal properly and avoid further injury.