Pain in the elbow area - Tennis elbow and javelin thrower’s elbow

Do you feel sharp pain in the elbow area? Do these pains restrict you in a daily and working life? Did you try different kinds of therapy, but the problems remain?

For effective therapy of the attachment pain in the area of the elbow joint it is necessary to look on the problem complexly instead of paying attention only to the painful elbow. The real cause is often hidden in a disrupted function of the cervical or thoracic spine and shoulder girdle.

Tennis elbow and javelin thrower’s elbow belong to enthesopathy - painful syndromes that are caused by inflammatory processes in the attachments of the tendons, ligaments and joint capsules. Almost everyone who suffers by this enthesopathy knows from the doctor, that they have a tennis elbow or javelin thrower’s elbow, but not many know what it exactly means, what are the symptoms and what caused it.



The most common illness in the area is exactly the so called tennis elbow. During the tennis elbow is the epicenter of the pain on the outer epicondyle (bone protuberance) of the arm bone and this pain can shoot up towards the shoulder or down towards the wrist. Group of muscles are attached to the outer epicondylus of the arm bone and forearm bone, and long term overloading of these muscles leads to enthesopathy. High tension can be found especially in the extensors of the fingers and wrist. Pain is afterwards evoked by a convulsive grasp. Because the pain in the elbow form especially during spastic holding of the tennis racquet, when the player is not able to relieve the strong grasp in intervals between hitting the ball, that is when the diagnosis is called „tennis elbow”. But more often we meet with pain that result from wrong posture of the of the arm during manipulation with computer mouse or in manual professions (bricklayer, gardener, but also dentists and many other).



Also called „golf elbow”. The pain here is appearing in the inner epicondylus of the arm bone, on the outer side of the elbow. This epicondylus is attaching especially to the flexors of the forearm and wrist. Similarly as by the previous diagnosis is pain caused by overloaded of the muscle group especially in its attachments, only the mechanism is different. This enthesopathy is typical for golf players, baseball players, javelin throwers and other athletes who are dealing with throwing. Pain is manifested especially by flexing the fingers and wrist, then in the inner rotation in the wrist, when rotating the hand downwards. The pain can be also evoked by simply touching the affected area.


For effective therapy, which will rid you of pain, but at the same time it restricts its return, it is very important to examine not only the painful elbow, but also function of the cervical spine and shoulder girdle. During diagnosis and therapy we focus on the average daily movement stereotypes, because their incorrect implementation leads to overloading of the muscles and their attachments which causes painful inflammatory illness in the muscles. Part of the complexive therapy in our FYZIOklinika is also highly functional shock wave (ESWT - extracorporeal shock wave therapy), which effectively removes the enthesopathic pain from the elbow joint. More about the therapy itself can be read in article Tennis elbow and javelin thrower’s elbow - treatment.



Exercise tutorials:

 Mgr. Iva Bílková, FYZIOklinika fyzioterapie Ltd, Prague, Czech Republic

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