For the last 6 months I have been dealing with Tennis Elbow, which can be very painful. In this post I wanted to outline my journey with the condition including:
- The symptoms,
- What treatments I have tried
- What worked and what didn’t
- And finally what lessons I have learned for the future
If you find yourself suffering from Tennis Elbow, I really hope this post can help you understand from someone in the real world about the condition.
It goes without saying that I am not a doctor or a medical professional. Therefore everything in this post are based purely on my experience alone. They are not medical advice and you should always seek the help a qualified medical professional if you have a similar condition.
It was October when I first started to feel symptoms of what I now know if Tennis Elbow. I am a keen golfer and I seem to remember driving home from a round of golf and feel some soreness and stiffness in my right elbow.
Feeling stiff after a round of golf is nothing new and therefore I didn’t think anything more of it and carried on with life.
However after a few days I found that it was getting worse not better and I had a more pronounced pain in the right elbow and forearm rather than just stiffness.
Googling the symptoms
As you do these days, even though you probably shouldn’t, and combined with the fact that I knew a visit to the doctors was going to be very difficult due to the COVID-19 pandemic, I Googled the condition to get some advice on what I could do to help.
You will find a wide-range of articles and videos, some of which are very good and some not so good.
What it did do was to confirm that it was actually Tennis Elbow, rather than golfers elbow (strange since I play golf not tennis!).
What is the difference between golf and tennis elbow?
Simply put, the condition is very similar in that Tennis and Golf Elbow are a form on Tendonitis. This is where the tendons connecting the muscles to the bone are damaged or inflamed – this causes pain.
Tennis elbow, known as lateral epicondylitis is pain on the outside of the elbow, whereas golfers elbow, know as medial epicondylitis is pain on the inner side of the elbow.
If you put your arm down by your side with your palm facing away from you, tennis elbow is pain on the side of the elbow furthest from your body, whereas golfers elbow is pain on the side that is closest to your body.
So, I definitely had tennis elbow as my pain was on the outside.
Telephone appointment with a doctor
Finally in early November, after having tried some of the exercises that I found online without much success, I tried to get a phone appointment with the doctor.
To my disappointment, he highlighted what I already knew, I had tennis elbow and said it needed rest, pain killers and some inflammatory cream. He also suggested icing the elbow (with an ice pack – or frozen peas for me!) once a day.
I was a little disappointed as I think I already knew all that, but at least I had been through the motions.
As I have mentioned, the main symptoms of my tennis elbow instance was pain around the outside of the elbow joint. I can best describe this as in the little nook where you feel pain if you bang for “funny bone”.
I also experienced a lot of arm stiffness, not just around the joint but all down the forearm on the top and bottom.
After a few weeks, it really was beginning to get me down. It was a constant source of annoyance. I use the word annoyance rather than pain as it didn’t really stop me living life, rather just the things (including playing golf) that used that particular area a lot.
Consult with a physiotherapist or sports injury specialist
Having spoke to a few friend who I knew had muscle injuries, one suggested that I see a physio or musculoskeletal injury treatment specialist.
I was recommended to get in touch with Gus, at Proforma Therapy in Leyland.
I went for a consultation and after some massage on the area which did feel good, Gus sent me back home with a list of exercises to complete.
I regularly did the exercises each day, morning and night and I must admit they did make a difference. However, it wasn’t the sort of difference that you can really see day to day, but gradually over time I started thinking that I could do things that used to be very painful.
As I write this in mid July 2021, nearly a year after I first had symptoms of tennis elbow my elbow is 95% better now. In fact it has got to the point were I am not really noticing it.
However, is it cured? Has it gone complete?
No, there is still pain and to be honest, I think that it is something that I will have for the rest of my life. It will no doubt flare up now and again and then get better.
Was it certainly the case though is it is not stopping me from doing the things I want to do.
You can definitely get over Tennis (and probably goflers) elbow, but something all the doctors, physios and of course web pages don’t tell you is that it is a slow and long road. The sooner you realise that the better.