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Ease Your Tennis Elbow with Physio Art!

23rd March 2021



Hi there, Art, here welcome to my blog. What do I have for you this week?

Remember some time ago I mentioned about problems and conditions that some people live with for weeks, months and sometimes years!

Tennis Elbow is one of these conditions it is also a difficult problem to treat successfully.


What are the causes of Tennis Elbow?


Tennis elbow is classed as an over-use or strain injury to begin with. What happens is the forearm starts to ache the ache over time changes to a pain in the forearm and elbow.

The pain can be increased by lifting a kettle, doing up buttons, picking up a cup even holding a pencil. Most active daily living skills like dressing and driving makes the elbow ache more. After several weeks of increasing pain and discomfort, many people seek medical advice.


Why is Tennis Elbow so painful?


One of the reasons Tennis Elbow is painful is because the extensor tendon which is attached to the outer bone of the elbow, known as the lateral epicondyle becomes inflamed. This is the body’s natural reaction to repair strained tissue. The muscles of the forearm, the ones that lift the wrist upwards or cock the wrist, are attached to this tendon. With the inflammation on going brings blood to the tendon to help. The tendon does not have a good blood supply and this extra blood aggravates the nerves in the tendon.


Then what?


Inflammation causes heat, swelling, redness and pain. This inflammation with the extra blood aggravates the tendon even more causing the tendon to become even more painful.


How long does Tennis Elbow last?


Tennis Elbow can last up to 12 months or longer.


I do not play tennis!


Correct, this is a condition or problem where people I have treated over the years do not play tennis, not even held a racquet. However, the condition reacts just the same as I have mentioned.


With so much pain why is there no damage?


This is an interesting point, because with Tennis Elbow there is no damage. It resolves without any muscle, tendon, or bone damage. Nor will it lead to an arthritic elbow joint. The pain goes and the wrist and hand strength returns.

Pain is processed in the brain; the brain cannot differentiate different types of pain. For example, if you pinch yourself on the skin or gently pull a finger backwards that discomfort is registered in the brain for you to let go. When you let go there is no damage to skin or joint. Pain overrides muscle contractions, therefore the brain sends a signal to the muscle to relax which is the reason why most people say their grip is weak.


Rest, Ice and Compression


Rest, Ice and Compression is a good place to start and the sooner the better to aid that recovery.

Rest is important, use the other hand more. Lift objects up with the palm facing upwards.

Ice packs 2 to 3 times a day for 15 minutes, we want to ease the discomfort not freeze it! Always place a cloth between ice pack and skin. Allow 2 to 3 hours between ice treatment.

Compression in the forms of an arm sleeve or a Tennis Elbow strap. A wrist splint to wear at night have helped lots of people in the past.

I know people get so desperate they seek a steroid injection but even injections do not guarantee 100% resolve and injections can bring about their own problems like a ruptured tendon or discoloration of the skin.


Medical Advice


Lots of people seek their GP or Doctors advice and help. Normally the response is medications such as pain killers and anti inflammatories for a period.


Muscle Actions


Muscles work in three ways.


STATICLY. This is when a muscle contract but does not shorten and no movement takes place.

CONCENTRICLY. This is when a muscle contracts and shortens in length.

ECCENTRICALLY. This is when the muscle controls the movement and lengthens. It is this type of exercise that has good results in aiding recovery of tendonitis like Tennis Elbow and Achilles tendonitis.


One of the best exercises and stretches for Tennis Elbow




Start with the elbow bent and hand by the shoulder and the wrist cocked back.

Place a light weight 1 or 2 pounds in the hand then slowly lower the arm to the count of five so it is straight then slowly dropping the wrist down and drop the weight into the opposite hand. Then repeat the exercise 10 times.




Place the arm out straight then turn the whole arm inwards with the palm of the hand facing out.

Cock the wrist away from you, with the opposite hand gentle press the cocked wrist up towards the elbow.

This should be a gentle pressure on the wrist and hold that stretch for 30 seconds. Relax for a few seconds then repeat the stretch. 10 stretches for 30 seconds after the exercise.

See my Vlog for the demonstration.

Bye for now! Stay safe and stay well!

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