Spring is here and if you’re like me, fishing is taking up all of your spare time. One of the most common injuries that plague fishermen is elbow pain from casting and retrieving. Fisherman’s elbow is more commonly known as “tennis elbow” or lateral epicondylitis.
Tennis elbow is an irritation or degeneration of the tendons of the forearm that cock back the wrist or extend the fingers. Usually the pain is just beyond the outside part of the elbow at the origin of the extensor tendons. Pain gets worse when lifting objects with your palm facing the ground, turning a screwdriver, using an open-faced/spinning reel on the holding arm, or turning the handle on a close-face/bait casting reel.
This problem is caused by repetitive overuse of the muscles, past injury that limits blood flow or changes the natural balance of the elbow, or a degenerative process in the tendons at their attachment. Other conditions that must be ruled out in these cases are arthritis, radial tunnel syndrome, and a muscle or ligament tear.
To treat this condition, the irritating activity must be avoided. For spring fishermen, NOT fishing is NOT and option, so modifications must be considered. Changing rod or wrist angles or limiting the use of certain equipment are some of the strategies I use for patients with these problems.
Anti-inflammatory approaches may help. Options here are ice, over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication, or a cortisone shot. Be aware that risks are involved with cortisone injections and should be considered if “all else fails.”
Most importantly, an expert on this condition needs to examine the function of the shoulder, elbow, and wrist and treat with effective techniques. If joint or muscle restriction is hindering proper movement patterns or overloading the tendons, the injury will never completely resolve.
At In Motion we provide great relief for lateral epicondylitis utilizing Active Release Technique® and Graston Technique® to break up scar tissue formed from these overuse injuries and unload tension across the elbow joint. If pain in your elbow is getting worse this season or just won’t go away, treatment is available and it can be resolved and avoided in the future. For any questions or treatment please contact In Motion Spine & Joint Center at 615-302-4747 or visit WWW.IMSJC.COM.