Let's first start by talking about our wrist extensors and flexors. The muscles that are responsible for flexing our
wrist are attached to the medial aspect of our elbow, while the muscles that extend our wrist are attached to the lateral part of our elbow. You can imagine that someone that plays tennis all day is constantly gripping and extending the racket for a solid backhand, while a person who enjoys golf is holding and flexing the club before every swing. If you ever forget it's easy to feel your muscles at work. Simply flex your wrist and with your other hand try to push it out of the flex position, you can feel your extensors all the way down to the outside of your elbow, and vice versa with
your wrist flexors that you will feel on the middle of your elbow.
At the end of the muscles you have connective tissue called tendons that connect the muscle to the bone. Epicondylitis, whether is medial or lateral, is basically an overuse injury that results in small tears in the tendon. This can cause inflammation and pain. The injuries can usually be diagnosed off of some simple orthopedic tests, but can also be seen on x-ray if the damage is extensive enough (meaning that there has been a change in the bony structure due to so much pull from the tendons).
Treatment for these injuries start very conservatively with rest and icing and but more severe cases can require cortisone shots or even surgery. Stretching and treating the muscle itself with different soft tissue techniques can help reduce pain and tension as well. Many doctors also recommend stopping the activity that may have started the symptoms in the first place. In conjunction with ice and rest some people also try special bands called chopat straps that help secure the tendon so that there isn't as much strain on the tendon.
If you have any questions about these conditions or would like to purchase a chopat strap, stop by the office today or call me at the office at 390-2484.