Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis elbow): Tennis elbow is a term used to describe tendon pain on the outside of the elbow. Although the name predispose this arise due to tennis, however it is more likely to see people describing this discomfort without participating in tennis. Other pathologies may be the reason for the pain in your elbow which your experienced clinician will be able to differentiate. This condition will commonly start with mild discomfort but can progress to severe disabling pain and decrease of grip strength. However, acute elbow pain may be related to sudden pain after a heavy activity. Strengthening, adaptations in daily activities and combined with other treatments modalities will help you return to pain free functioning. Other reasons for lateral elbow pain may be related to cervical or thoracic spine, nerve related, synovitis, radial tunnel syndrome, etc.
Medial Epicondylitis (Golfers elbow): This condition refers to pain experienced on the inside of the elbow and can be due to overuse of wrist flexors and inward rotators resulting in tendinopathy as seen in golfers and tennis players. In addition, due to its proximity with the ulnar nerve, it might give some neurological symptoms. Treatment involves activity adaptation, strengthening and other physiotherapy modalities.
Pain in the inside of the elbow can also be a cause of medial collateral ligament sprain which may be due to an acute injury or repeated stress, the later been seen especially with throwing athletes. During examination some instability will be present along with pain on palpation and with or without stiffness in extension.
Cubital Tunnel syndrome: This name refers to the irritation of the ulnar nerve that passes through the cubital tunnel in the inner elbow. The ulnar nerve is responsible for the sensation of your rink and pinky finger and is also responsible for innervations of the muscles on the medial side. Irritation or compression of this nerve can lead to sensation changes in your fingers and pain. Your physiotherapist will be able to assess and give you guidance in order to help you with this condition.
Radial tunnel syndrome:
Compression of the posterior interosseous nerve at the outside of the upper forearm can result in individuals who repeatedly pronate (rotate inwards) the hand. At the initial stage it may have the same pain as a lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow). The difference of this condition is the presence of sensory disturbances in the hand and pain in the outside of the elbow and hand.
Treatment includes soft tissue techniques, nerve tissue mobilization and exercises.
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