Lateral epicondylitis and medial epicondylitis are two different types of injuries that involve the tendons and muscles around the elbow joint. They are commonly known as tennis elbow and golfer's elbow, respectively, although these conditions can occur in people who do not participate in these sports.
Lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow, affects the tendons on the outer side of the elbow. The primary muscle involved in this condition is the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle, which attaches to the lateral epicondyle of the humerus (the bony prominence on the outer side of the elbow). This muscle helps with wrist extension and stabilization.
Medial epicondylitis, or golfer's elbow, affects the tendons on the inner side of the elbow. The primary muscle involved in this condition is the flexor carpi radialis muscle, which attaches to the medial epicondyle of the humerus (the bony prominence on the inner side of the elbow). This muscle helps with wrist flexion and gripping.
Both lateral and medial epicondylitis are considered overuse injuries caused by repetitive stress and strain on the tendons and muscles. Despite their names suggesting a specific association with tennis or golf, these conditions can occur in various activities that involve repetitive wrist and forearm movements, such as painting, typing, or using hand tools.
The repetitive stress and strain placed on the tendons can lead to microtears, inflammation, and degeneration of the tendon tissue, resulting in pain, tenderness, and limited range of motion around the elbow joint. The underlying causes can include improper technique, poor equipment, inadequate warm-up or conditioning, and excessive or repetitive forceful motions.
It's important to note that while the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle is primarily associated with lateral epicondylitis and the flexor carpi radialis muscle with medial epicondylitis, other muscles and tendons around the elbow joint can also be involved in these conditions. Seeking medical attention from a healthcare professional is recommended for an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment.
However, a Massage therapy can play a beneficial role in the treatment and management of these conditions by addressing the underlying muscle tension, promoting circulation, and reducing pain.
Muscle Tension Relief: Massage techniques such as effleurage (long, sweeping strokes) and petrissage (kneading and squeezing motions) can help relax the muscles surrounding the elbow. This helps to alleviate tension and tightness, which are often contributing factors to the development and persistence of epicondylitis.
Increased Circulation: Massage promotes blood flow to the affected area. Improved circulation helps deliver vital nutrients and oxygen to the tissues, aiding in their healing process. It also assists in removing waste products and reducing inflammation.
Reduction of Pain: Massage therapy can help reduce pain associated with epicondylitis. Techniques such as friction massage, which involves deep, circular movements over the affected tendons, can help break up scar tissue and adhesions. This may help alleviate pain and restore mobility.
Improved Range of Motion: Epicondylitis can lead to restricted movement and limited range of motion in the elbow joint. Massage techniques like passive stretching and joint mobilizations can help improve flexibility and restore the normal range of motion.
Relaxation and Stress Reduction: Pain and discomfort from epicondylitis can cause stress and tension throughout the body. Massage therapy induces a relaxation response, reducing stress hormones and promoting an overall sense of well-being. This can help manage pain perception and facilitate the body's natural healing processes.
It is important to note that massage therapy should be performed by a qualified and experienced professional who understands the specific needs and considerations of individuals with epicondylitis. They can tailor the treatment to the individual's condition and provide appropriate recommendations for self-care exercises, stretches, and other adjunct therapies to enhance the benefits of massage.