Updated: Apr 25, 2021
Lateral Epicondylitis (tennis elbow) is a condition where the attachment of the wrist extensor muscles to the distal humerus becomes irritated. “Tennis elbow” is common in carpenters and manual laborers, and has been known to afflict politicians. Lateral epicondylitis is called tennis elbow because arguably the most common occurrence is in tennis players hitting a backhand.
Traditional efforts to resolve the symptoms are directed at the elbow, but practitioners of Applied Functional Science such as myself, also will recognize, evaluate, and treat dysfunction in other locations that are negatively impacting the functional activity.
The challenge of assessing all of the above probable suspects can be daunting without a movement strategy that integrates all the joints in global movements that can drive the client into and out of the Transformational Zones.
Let’s use the one-handed tennis backhand as our example. Not only does the player need to grip the racket firmly, but the ball will create a sudden and forceful stretch to the wrist extensors at contact. Without good load and explode of all the joints involved in the backhand stroke, the stress to the muscle attachment may exceed the tolerable level.
The essential loads for a right-handed player are:
• Subtalar joint pronation and ankle dorsiflexion to allow the left foot to maintain firm ground contact
• Good hip motion to load the powerful posterior hip muscles. Hip internal rotation is particularly critical
• Thoracic rotation to the left with a variety of motions in the other planes depending on the height of the ball
• Cervical rotation to the right created by watching the ball and the trunk rotating to the left
The body is a Chain reaction. Sometimes the chain reaction breaks down. With tennis elbow the elbow has not become ‘weak’. It has become overloaded. Tennis Elbow is not just about your elbow. If you can find the cause, you can create the cure. I can help. Reach out to me for more information.
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