Tennis elbow – Stop being backhanded by elbow pain - Bellefleur
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Tennis elbow – Stop being backhanded by elbow pain

Tennis elbow is the common term used for what is medically identified as lateral epicondylitis. This term simply means an inflammation around the outside of the elbow. Your forearm muscles attach to the epicondyle portion of the arm bone, and with repetitive activities over time or a traumatic event you can develop a tendonitis or irritation of the tendons at this attachment.


Lateral epicondyle located on outside of elbow.
Lateral epicondyle located on outside of elbow.

Unlike the name, this injury does not only occur in tennis players. The name ‘tennis elbow’ was given because a backhand swing in tennis engages the muscles and tendons that attach to the outside of the elbow. This injury is common with other activities, such as repetitive gripping or twisting of the wrist, or constant keyboarding, or mouse use. Symptoms associated with this condition are tenderness to touch over the bone, painful or weak grip, pain with wrist movements (turning a door knob), and stiffness in the morning.


Tennis elbow does not just occur in tennis players.
Tennis elbow does not just occur in tennis players.

With repetitive activities, the tendon begins to develop micro tears. The human body will try to heal itself by laying down scar tissue over these little tears. Since scar tissue is very fragile and we continue to use these muscles, the scar tissue ends up being stretched and finally finishes by tearing, thereby causing pain.


Micro tears in tendon
Micro tears in tendon

Tennis elbow can limit activity but usually resolves with conservative treatment, such as ice and rest from aggravating activities. A visit to your local physiotherapist is very helpful as they can guide you through the proper stretching and strengthening activities to speed up your recovery and get you back to your pre-injury activities. Some other treatment options include soft tissue mobilization (instrument assisted or without instruments), joint mobilizations, and even ultrasound. Physiotherapists can also provide education regarding ergonomics or technique modification, whether it is for work or leisure activities.

Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization for tennis elbow
Instrument assisted soft tissue mobilization for tennis elbow


Jason Bellefleur
Jason Bellefleur is a multi-award-winning physiotherapist. Most recently, he was recognized as a 2016 Ottawa Forty Under 40 recipient and received numerous awards from the Orléans Chamber of Commerce (the 2011 Young Business Person of the Year, the 2012 Healthcare Professional of the Year and the 2014 Business Person of the Year awards). Jason is proud to be an Orléans resident and to raise his family in a bilingual community. He enthusiastically promotes local business within the Orléans area and frequently supports and participates in local events. Jason was recognized for his community involvement by receiving the Orleans 150 Community Builder award in 2017 by Ottawa-Orléans MPP Marie-France Lalonde. Jason firmly believes in high-quality one-on-one physiotherapy interventions. His treatment approach emphasizes hands-on intervention, continued client education, and active involvement by the individual to help them reach their full potential. By opening a clinic that offers 'Higher Standards of Care,' Jason wants his patients to feel confident that they receive the highest level of patient care available. As a result, he is also preventing injury and helping to improve their health and well-being.

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