We have extensive experience in the treatment, rehabilitation and preventative management for elbow pain and injuries.
Below provides a list of the most common elbow conditions. Each patient requires an individual assessment to determine the exact type of injury, the causes and any rehabilitation program required. During an appointment with either a Sports Doctor or a Physiotherapist you can expect the following assessment questions:
History of the pain, including location, severity, referred pain, things that make the pain worse or better.
The common conditions below and the associated information have been produced as a guide only. They do not replace the judgement of a clinician. The below information should never be relied on as a substitute for proper assessment with respect to the particular circumstances of each patient. Patients should consult with an appropriate clinician as soon as practicable post injury to avoid complications.
Lateral epicondylitis, also known as "Tennis Elbow", is the most common overuse syndrome in the elbow. It is a tendinopathy injury involving the muscles of the forearm and the attachment of the muscle to the Humerus or upper arm bone.
Most people who get Tennis Elbow don't actually play tennis. It occurs often in repetitive upper extremity activities such as computer use, heavy lifting, forceful forearm pronation and supination, and repetitive vibration. Despite the name you will also commonly see this chronic condition in other sports such as squash, badminton, baseball, swimming and field throwing events. People with repetitive one-sides movements in their jobs such as electricians, carpenters, gardeners and fish filleters will also often have this condition.
Tennis elbow is often chronic, lasting for several months. It sometimes gets better on its own within 6 months to 2 years.
Initial treatment involves the application of ice, taking analgesics (pain relievers) and relative rest (avoiding activities that aggravate the pain). Wearing a tennis elbow brace can help to protect the tendon.
Physiotherapy is useful, and the physiotherapist can show you exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles of the forearm. Specifically, progressively loading the extensor muscles with a program of strengthening exercises is important.
For more severe or persistent pain, corticosteroid injections may be an option, but will offer short-term relief only. Repetitive injections of corticosteroid are dangerous as they can cause the tendon to weaken and possibly even rupture.
Platelet-rich plasma injections have recently showed promise in accelerating the healing of this condition.
Surgery is rarely required, but may be considered if 6 to 12 months of non-surgical treatment has not been effective. It is important to ensure the diagnosis is accurate and the pain is not arising from the neck, thoracic spine or from a rib ring dysfunction.
Golfer's elbow is a condition that causes pain where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to the bony bump on the inside of your elbow. The pain might spread into your forearm and wrist.
Golfer's elbow is similar to tennis elbow, which occurs on the outside of the elbow. It's not limited to golfers. Tennis players and others who repeatedly use their wrists or clench their fingers also can develop golfer's elbow.
The pain of golfer's elbow doesn't have to keep you off the course or away from your favorite activities. Rest and appropriate treatment can get you back into the swing of things.
Rest. Put your golf game or other repetitive activities on hold until the pain is gone. If you return to activity too soon, you can worsen your condition.
Ice the affected area. Apply ice packs to your elbow for 15 to 20 minutes at a time, three to four times a day for several days. To protect your skin, wrap the ice packs in a thin towel. It might help to massage your inner elbow with ice for five minutes at a time, two to three times a day.
Use a brace. Your Physiotherapist might recommend that you wear a counterforce brace on your affected arm, which might reduce tendon and muscle strain.
Stretch and strengthen the affected area. Your physiotherapist will suggest exercises for stretching and strengthening. Progressive loading of the tendon with specific strength training exercises has been shown to be especially effective.
Gradually return to your usual activities. When your pain is gone, practice the arm motions of your sport or activity. Review your golf or tennis swing with an instructor to ensure that your technique is correct, and make adjustments if needed.
Territory Sportsmedicine doctors, may attempt more invasive treatment options such as cortisone injections or Platelet Rich Plasma injections. You will need to have an appointment with one of our specialists for review before either of these options may be considered.
Surgery is seldom necessary. But if your signs and symptoms don't respond to conservative treatment in six to 12 months, surgery might be an option.
Most people will get better with rest, ice and pain relievers. Depending on the severity of your condition, the pain might linger for months to years — even if you take it easy and follow instructions on exercising your arm. Sometimes the pain returns or becomes chronic.