Common Diagnosis – Elbow and Hand

Tennis Elbow/Lateral Epicondylitis


What is Tennis Elbow?

Lateral epicondylitis or “Tennis Elbow” describes inflammation of the extensor muscles in your arm and forearm. Pain is typically most intense where these muscles attach on the outside of the elbow. This group of muscle includes those that extend your wrist, grip, twist, and carry objects. Therefore, these activities can aggravate pain.


What causes Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is typically what is referred to as an “overuse” injury. This means that it happens as a result of doing a certain activity repeatedly over a period of time. Improper grip or technique while using your wrist or hand for anything from typing to operating machinery can eventually cause this condition. Tennis elbow does occur more commonly in males than females and in individuals aged 30 – 50.


Typical Treatment

Tennis elbow is a condition where early intervention is vital, as it becomes exponentially more difficult to treat as it enters the chronic phase. After evaluation, it may or may not be beneficial to use an elbow brace to limit further overuse of the affected muscles. Often, manual soft tissue and joint mobilizations are helpful in breaking up scar tissue. After the muscles have the ability to move more normally, progressive strengthening exercises are added and you will be guided into gradual return to normal activities. Another important aspect that should be addressed in the treatment of tennis elbow is the cause of the injury, which is actually frequently postural. Therefore, your treatment is likely to include core and shoulder stabilization exercises to help you reduce stress on your elbow and prevent re-injury in the future.


Carpal Tunnel Syndrome (CTS)


What is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

The carpal tunnel is the area between the small bones (called carpals) of your wrist and the ligaments that cover them. Several structures pass through this space, including the median nerve and several muscle tendons. When this space is narrowed, the median nerve becomes compressed and can be damaged, resulting in sensory and motor disturbances in the hand.


What causes Carpal Tunnel Syndrome?

Anything that increases pressure on the carpals can produce compression to the median nerve. Some of the more common causes include edema, trauma, wrist sprain or fracture, and prolonged compression due to poor ergonomics, especially when working at a computer.


Typical treatment

Management of carpal tunnel syndrome initially includes splinting, mobilization of the carpal bones, and gentle stretching. Your treatment may also include discussion and adaptation of your work-space, leisure activities, living environment, or any other factors that may have contributed to the development of carpal tunnel syndrome. Symptoms generally improve in 4-6 weeks.