Posts Tagged ‘Tennis Elbow’

No Arm Wrestling Please

By Laura Gordon

The following is a scenario for you to put yourself into and work through with me:
You have just opened up your own massage therapy business and are building your clientele. One day a client comes in with a sore elbow. The client tells you his profession is carpentry. Examine his arm visually, and note that his dominate arm is inflamed on the lateral side of the elbow joint and is very warm, tender and painful to a light touch. He tells you it began several months ago and has progressed into the current painful condition. He also tells you he is losing strength in his grip which is particularly distressing to him as he has to handle power saws, drills, hammers etc. in his line of work.
Though you cannot diagnose, you are aware these are all the symptoms of Lateral Epicondylitis also known as Tennis Elbow. That means there are tears in the tendons on the lateral side of the arm. The most common is the tendon of the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis. You would muscle test not to diagnose but to confirm the location of the distress and talk with the client about his/her options.
If this is a condition that has persisted a considerable length of time, it is a good idea to have the client get an accurate diagnosis from an M.D. or D.O. to rule out arthritis or other disease related possible causes.
Do you need to muscle test for Tennis Elbow even after a doctor’s diagnosis?
Muscle TestYes, it’s a good idea to pin point where your work would best benefit the client.
To muscle test you would have the client rest their arm on a flat surface palm down, have them extend their hand at the wrist as you resist the move with the palm of your hand over the back of their hand.
TechniqueIf the client experiences pain at the wrist you would know to work the wrist area with stretches and cross fiber. If the client experiences pain at the elbow you would know to work the lateral epicondyle of the humerus. 1) Find the spot shown on the left. 2) Press into the area, to the depth that your client can tolerate. 3) Next cross fiber friction the area for at least 30 seconds. 4) Finish with a gentle stretch that lasts for 30 secs.
AdditionallyYou can stretch the tendons by supinating and pronating the forearm. In each position cross fiber the tendons and muscles of the forearm starting in the area of most pain and working distally toward the wrist or proximal toward the elbow.
Homework:   Homework is an important feature of the work and the two images show the type of work the client can do on their own. It is recommended the client does each position for a set of 10 for a count of 10.
Encourage your client to come back at least twice a week until significant healing has occurred. The treatment as described above will only take 15 to 20 minutes.
Challenge:   Try this technique on a willing victim. Get their impression on how loose this made their already health arm feel.


08 2011

Bad Elbows or Bad Choices?

Bad Elbows or Bad Choices?

By Ross Ashcraft

Let’s start with a question:  Why must we always wait until our hands and elbows are killing us before we do something besides taking a pill?  This week let’s get ahead of the game with a little prevention.

Elbows are a funny looking body part.  From the back they are loose folds of skin.  From the front they are a big crease in our arm.  We use our elbows all the time but rarely even think about them except when we somehow hit our funny bone.  Like most body parts we rarely attend to them unless they force us. 

A common complaint in the elbow is called Tennis Elbow.  It is caused by injuries to the muscles on the medial portion of your elbow.  This is the side that is closest to your body when your hands are at your side with your palms facing out.  Another common injury is Golfer’s Elbow.  It is caused by injury to the muscles on the other side of the elbow.  Both of them are typically caused by overusing them in the sports we play and the professional we work.  Obviously tennis and golf players are prone to these injuries.  But there is a long list of professions that are also at risk:  waiters, massage therapists, janitors, estheticians, construction workers, farmers, and anybody who types or sits at a computer all day or in general works with their hands.

After we use them all day, our wonderful bodies will repair all those injuries while we sleep…if they are equipped by us.  We don’t tell children “learn to read” and then deny them books.  We don’t require an employee to do a job and then deny them access to the tools they’ll need to do it.  Give your body what it needs and you’ll be amazed what it can handle.

Athletes and people who wish to prevent problems should try this technique before they begin their activities.  But if your body is already sending you message you need to do this right before you sleep!  So the body and repair itself properly.


1.  Shake out your elbows and wrists for 10 seconds

2.  Bend your elbows and wrists for another 10 seconds

3.  Grip your forearm right below your elbow:  Use medium pressure

4.  While Gripping:  flex and extend your elbow for 10 seconds

5.  While Gripping:  pronate and supinate your elbow for 10 seconds:  As shown below

6.  Repeat on the other arm

7.  Shake them both out one last time for 10 seconds

Try it out and comment about your impressions!

However, if you get a numb or burning sensation please discontinue and consider mentioning it to your doctor.


04 2011

Arm Agony

By Sharon Truelove & Ross Ashcraft

In today’s computer-run world, using a computer for hours on end is common. If you begin to experience pain when you bend your wrist back, make a fist, straighten your fingers, or try to grip objects (like your coffee cup), you may be developing “tennis elbow”.

Tennis elbow produces pain near the side of your elbow, where the tendons of your forearm muscles attach to the bony knob on the outside of the elbow (the lateral epicondyle).
If you actually do play tennis, identify what causes the pain. Then figure out how to modify the body mechanics so that it doesn’t hurt.

  • Check your  backhand
  • Is your racket grip too small
  • How heavy is the head
  • Don’t play with wet, and therefore heavy, tennis balls

If your elbow pain is a result of heavy computer use:

  • Invest in a good mouse
  • Make sure that your keyboard isn’t elevated at the back, as this forces your wrists into an extended position. If you need to use a wrist pad to elevate your wrists.

 So here are a few tips to help!

Self massage

First Technique

 1.  Get a tennis ball

2.  Lean it against the wall

3.  Roll it all around the problem area

 Second Technique

1.  Find the spot of maximum tenderness and apply cross-fiber friction for 30 seconds. 

2.  This should feel uncomfortable but not painful

Third Technique

1.  Using sustained compression on the aching forearm with the opposite forearm

2.  Hold for 10 to 30 seconds (see left).


Fourth Technique

1.  Stretch the forearm with wrist bends and twists.

Practice the techniques and let us know what you think


08 2010