Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition in which the lateral aspect of the elbow becomes painful and tender. The pain may also extend into the posterior aspect of the forearm and grip strength may be weak. Onset of symptoms is generally gradual. Diagnosis is typically based on the symptoms with medical imaging used to rule out other potential causes.
Signs and symptoms: - Pain on the lateral aspect of the elbow (lateral epicondyle). - Point tenderness over the lateral epicondyle and there may be trigger points in the wrist muscles. - Pain from gripping and movements of the wrist, especially resisted wrist/finger extension. (e.g. turning a screwdriver) and lifting movements. Pain can also be present when the muscles are stretched.
Pathophysiology: Histopathological findings have displayed no evidence of an acute, or a chronic inflammatory process. Histologic studies have demonstrated that this condition is the result of tendon degeneration, which replaces normal tissue with a disorganized arrangement of collagen with formation of reparative tissue (angiofibroblastic hyperplasia) . Therefore, the disorder is more appropriately referred to as tendinopathy rather than tendinitis.
Common Causes include: - Unaccustomed hand use. eg painting a fence, hammering, lots of typing. - Excessive gripping or wringing activities. - Poor forearm muscle strength or tight muscles. - pain referred from cervical spine . The most common segment that refers to lateral elbow is C5,6.
Differential Diagnosis: - Radial Tunnel Syndrome - Cervical Radiculopathy - Posterior Interosseus Syndrome
Outcome Measures pain: Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS) or visual Analogue Scale (VAS). Self-reported functional Questionnaires: - Quick DASH (Disabilities of the Arm Shoulder and Hand) - The Upper Limb Functional Index (ULFI). - Patient Rated Tennis Elbow Evaluation (PRTEE)