Weight lifter’s elbow? Never heard of it! How about Mommy’s elbow? Carpenter’s elbow? Typer’s elbow? Salesman elbow? ….. No?
Perhaps Tennis or Golfer’s elbow? Yes I am sure that most of you have heard of these 2 issues. But all the others are the same problem. Any of the options above create similar stress on the elbow as does tennis or golf. Mom tries to do all her tasks one handed while keeping hold of a crying child; Joe swings a hammer or holds a drill overhead for hours at a time; Jean decides that doing 3 sets of lateral raises with increased weight should be OK; and Fred sits at his computer programming all day long with fingers flying across the keys.
All of these tasks stress the forearm muscles. These muscles actually are responsible for motions and movements at the wrist. The common extensors are the muscles that pull your wrist up and they attach to the outside condyle (bony area) of your elbow and the common flexors attach to the inside condyle and they pull our wrist down. They also control the movements of the fingers for opening and closing the hand.
So how does the elbow get injured in these activities? As the muscles contract and hold that drill steady the muscle puts strain on the tendon where it inserts into the elbow. This force on the bony anchor can lead to microscopic trauma over time. Little tears that our body heals without difficulty. But the healing can lead to decreased flexibility and strength. As time goes by the injury progresses and the tendon begins to be painful. This is now a tendonitis — inflammation of the tendon. This is the best time to treat this condition. The longer a tendon remains inflamed and irritated the more change takes place at the tendon making it more difficult to resolve.
What are the signs of elbow tendonitis?
- Stiff, achy elbow joint
- Sharp elbow pain with lifting and gripping
- Difficulty picking up your coffee cup
- Difficulty with lifting especially with the arm out in front
How can you treat tendonitis at home?
- Rrest the elbow.
- Stretch the muscles of the forearm.
- Massage the tendon where it inserts into the bone.
- Perform eccentric or lengthening type exercises for the involved muscle group (1-2#).
Arm out in front. Bend hand toward ceiling.
Arm out in front. Bend hand toward floor
Arm out in front thumb to floor. Push hand away from body.
Massage tendon across side to side at elbow.
Start position. Slowly lower hand.
If you are unable to resolve the symptoms see your physical therapist for more detailed and focal treatment. Visit RI Limb Prosthetics, Orthotics And Physical Therapy