Physical Therapy for Your Elbow

There are several different elbow problems that could be causing you pain. If you think about how many times a minute you use your elbow, you would be shocked to find that there can be several different issues that can affect it. So what are they and how can physical therapy for your elbow can help.

Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
Fewer than 5% of all cases actually occur in people who play tennis. This ailment can happen when you repeatedly use your elbow, wrist, and hand. This is a painful condition that is caused by overuse of the “entensor” muscles in your arm and forearm. These are the muscles you use to grip, twist, and carry objects with your hand. This injury occurs more often in women than in men and commonly affects the ages between 30 and 50 years old. Symptoms can include radiating pain in forearm and wrist, difficulty doing tasks like turning a doorknob or holding objects, stiffness in elbow, and weakness in arm. In the first 24 to 48 hours, you should rest your arm, ice for 10 to 20 minutes at a time and use an elastic bandage or supports to take the pressure off the injury. Your physical therapist will help to improve your mobility in the muscle through manual therapy and strengthen it by moving the muscle gradually.

Elbow Bursitis (Student or Baker’s Elbow)
This ailment involves the swelling of the tip of the elbow on the back of the arm. It can be painless but it could also be painful to rest and lean on the elbow. There are many causes to this problem, but most common as leaning on your elbow for long periods of time on a hard surface and trauma of a direct hit. This problem is common in office workers and students who lean on desks or tables for long periods of time. Elbow Bursitis occurs when the bursa (a fluid sac on the tip of the elbow) becomes damaged, irritated, or inflamed. A patient of elbow bursitis may experience swelling on the tip or back of elbow, paint when pushed or when leaning on arm, stiffness in elbow joint, and redness on the tip. Your physical therapist will help improve the motion, flexibility, strength, and endurance in your elbow.

Medial Epicondylitis (Golfer’s Elbow)
This condition develops when the tendons are on the inside forearm are irritated, inflamed, or become painful by repetitive motion. Things like swinging a club, racket, or any activity that includes gripping, twisting, or throwing. These repetitive motions can cause the tendons that connect the arm to the elbow to become tender and irritated. Without treatment this condition can cause the tendons to tear away from the bone. Symptoms include paint on the inside forearm with wrist, hand, or elbow movement; pain or numbness that runs from the inside elbow down to the hand and fingers, primarily when gripping or squeezing objects; tenderness or swelling; weakness in hand when gripping; and a stiff elbow joint. Your physical therapist will help with your paint management, manual manipulations, range-of-motion, and strengthening exercises.

After working each of these treatments, your physical therapist will help to teach you the proper techniques of how to use your elbow. This is extremely important as it could save your from further injury and possibly surgery down the road. While all of these treatments seem extensive, your elbow is essential to your daily life and taking care of the muscles in the elbow will save you from pain and suffering. If you think you have any of these conditions, speak with your Life Fitness physical therapist today!

Contact Us to Learn More About Physical Therapy for your Elbow
If you’d like to schedule an appointment to help with your aches and paints, call Life Fitness Physical Therapy today at 410-368-1026, or find a nearby location. If you’d like more information about what to expect on your first visit with us, please check out our FAQ page.