Tennis elbow is a common elbow injury but although the name implies that tennis causes the problem, it’s caused by many other types of activities as well.
Tennis elbow is an overuse injury of the elbow (from straightening and raising your arm continuously) and the pain can spread down your forearm and into your wrist. If left untreated, it may cause chronic pain and could affect your strength and grip of the affected arm.
Treatment for tennis elbow may range from resting it to injecting corticosteroids into the elbow, to relieve inflammation and irritation. Many people take nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs) to help relieve the pain as well. Surgery may be a final option if no other treatment seems to help.
That being said, there is a new finding that suggests that a simple exercise may help reduce the pain and disability of tennis elbow. The findings of the study were presented at the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine’s Annual Meeting in Keystone, Colorado.
“Our study illustrated that a novel exercise, using an inexpensive rubber bar, may provide a practical and effective means of adding isolated wrist strengthening exercises to a treatment plan,” said lead author Timothy F. Tyler, PT, ATC, Clinical Research Associate, of the Nicholas Institute of Sports Medicine and Athletic Trauma in New York City.
The researchers had studied 21 patients who were divided into two groups. Although both groups were taught wrist extensor stretching and they receive ultrasounds, massage, heat and ice treatments, one group also performed exercises using a rubber bar while the other just did wrist strengthening exercises.
Patients using the rubber bar had vastly better results on all scales, especially related to strength. In fact, given the consistently poor outcomes for patients in the standard treatment group, it was deemed appropriate to terminate the randomization with 21 of the intended 30 patients having already completed the study.