Austin Manual Therapy Associates

Can Tennis Elbow Affect Your Shoulder?

Upper extremity pain is no joke, but can pain in these two areas be linked?

You’re raking leaves in your yard, lifting holiday decoration boxes off a shelf in your shed, or maybe even just doing something as simple as picking up your child, when all of a sudden you experience it: shooting pain in your elbow that extends up your arm, and possibly even into your shoulder.

What in the world could possibly be wrong, and who are you supposed to go to fix your problem?

There’s a chance that if this scenario has happened to you, you’ve sustained an injury that has been nicknamed ‘tennis elbow.’ While this condition can be quite painful and get in the way of your everyday activities, the good news is that help is available.

If you’re living with pain in your elbow and you’re unsure of how you can find relief, contact Austin Manual Therapy in Austin, TX today to learn more about how a physical therapist can help!

What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is a colloquial term referring to an overuse injury that results in inflammation of the tendons in the forearm, making it difficult to lift and move the arm. While it is commonly caused by the sport of tennis, it can also be caused by other sports and activities, including softball, baseball, raking leaves, and even excessive typing on a computer.

Any activity, such as gripping or repeated grasping, can strain the tendon attachment to the lateral epicondyle. The most common age group to develop this condition is between 30-60 years of age, although it can occur in younger and older patients.

Although the name of this condition implies specificity to the elbow; however, pain may be felt throughout the entire upper extremity — including the shoulder!

Symptoms of tennis elbow

Tennis elbow pain typically consists of uncomfortable tenderness in the bony area on the outside of your elbow. This is where tendons that have been injured are connected to the bone.

Tennis elbow pain can extend into your forearm and hand as well as into your upper arm and shoulder. Most patients report feeling shooting pain in their elbow and shoulder when they move

So, why is my shoulder hurting?

Your shoulders can accomplish several physical feats due to their structure – however, this also means that they are susceptible to an increased risk of injury because of their complexity. If something becomes damaged in the make-up of the shoulders, or you sustain an upper extremity injury, pain and discomfort can develop!

Your shoulder is a “ball-and-socket joint,” meaning that the humerus (head of the upper arm bone) fits perfectly in the corresponding space within the scapula (shoulder blade). Each end of the bone is protected by a thick layer of cartilage that prevents the bones from rubbing together.

This pain may range from a dull ache to shooting pains, depending on the severity of the condition. For example, if your pain is stemming from tendon impingement, it will generally occur as you lift your arm, fading before it is raised completely skyward.

If your pain is a result of shoulder degeneration, it is likely that you will feel persistent aches every time you move your arm in certain directions. Pain from an acute injury can be sudden and intense, making it difficult for you to move your shoulder at all.

With conditions such as tennis elbow, your shoulder can become sore as your body attempts to compensate for your elbow’s lack of strength and movement. Luckily, treatment exists for this condition at Austin Manual Therapy, and you’ll feel better before you know it.

How can I find relief for my tennis elbow?

The goal of physical therapy is to help you return to your normal work, home, and sports activities, free of pain. A physical therapist can provide conservative methods to help treat tennis elbow. Your physical therapist can help identify what activities might be aggravating your symptoms and will discuss any activity modifications you may need to make.

Postural exercises are emphasized, along with stretching and strengthening of the shoulder, elbow, wrist, and hand. Neuromuscular re-education and functional training have been proven to be great methods to treat elbow pain.

Call our clinic today for an appointment

If you believe you may be experiencing pain related to tennis elbow or another upper extremity condition, don’t hesitate to contact Austin Manual Therapy in Austin, TX today!

We’re here to help you feel your best, no matter what kinds of symptoms you’re experiencing. Our skilled physical therapists will provide you with the care you need, so you can get back to your normal life.