The elbow is made up of three joints: brachiocephalic, humero-ulnar and proximal radioulnar joints. The articular capsule covers all three joints. Collateral ligaments strengthen it. The annular ligament stabilizes the proximal radial-elbow joint. During movements, the shoulder and elbow muscles tighten the joint capsule. Elbow ailments can be caused by injuries (sprains, fractures, contusions), overloads (tennis or golfer’s elbows), weakened muscle strength/tension, nerve damage, degeneration and diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis.
The most common dysfunctions are:
Tennis elbow is the inflammation of the lateral epicondyle; the lesion affects the short extensor tendon. The condition manifests itself with pain in the side of the elbow, which increases when the wrist is straightened.
Golfer’s elbow is the inflammation of the medial epicondyle; the lesion results from the damage of the flexor muscles distal attachment tendon and the pronator teres muscle. Bending and back movements make the pain worse.
In the acute course, we rely on analgesic and anti-inflammatory effects, e.g. lymphatic drainage and limitation of activity.
In chronic conditions, physiotherapy aims to relax muscles and stimulate metabolism. A special tourniquet is used along with Kinesio-taping. Rehabilitation consists of manual therapy, fascial relaxation, use of ultrasound, eccentric exercises, dry needling, patient education and modification of their activity.