Treating Tennis Elbow during COVID-19

Tennis elbow aka lateral epicondylalgia is a condition usually related to the overuse of the muscles and tendons which attach at the outer elbow.

With more people interacting with PCs and laptops to communicate during the COVID-19 restrictions, here at the clinic, we have seen a significant increase in tennis elbow cases.

The condition causes pain and sensitivity at the outer elbow and often along the back of the forearm. Gripping, lifting and carrying as well as working on a keyboard is often weak and painful.

To heal and recover, a period of 'offloading' is required to allow the tissues to settle. During this period, you should generally avoid activities which cause pain. These include activities which use the wrist and hand such as lifting, carrying, holding objects, as well as sports such as tennis, golf, cycling and spinning.

Also, be careful to avoid prolonged use of a keyboard or tablet which will strain and aggravate the affected muscles and tendons. Take regular breaks, before any soreness develops. It helps to assume a good posture with the head and neck aligned, shoulders relaxed, and forearms supported when working at a desk.

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Super Comfy Strive Footwear

I love my shoes! However, after many years on my feet, I have become much more discerning about the type of shoes I wear. My shoes not only have to look good but feel good. Gone are the days when I can squeeze my feet into a fancy pair of heels and not have very sore feet the next day.

As a runner, I have experienced plantar fasciitis, a painful overload injury involving the thick fibrous tissue which runs from the heel to the sole of the foot.

Diagnosing my own feet problems and working out the best treatment approach is what got me interested in lower limb biomechanics, one of many musculoskeletal physiotherapy sub-specialities. 

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A Physio's Guide to Foam Rolling

Foam rolling is a form of self-myofascial release using a rigid styrofoam cylinder of varying length and degrees of 'hardness'. You can also achieve the foam rolling effect with a rolling pin style device (like I use in the clinic) or a sometimes a hard rubber or rubber spiked therapy ball.

Foam rolling may be useful:

  • To improve exercise performance.
  • As an evening activity to unwind from stress and tension.
  • As an injury, self-treatment modality.
  • To help alleviate muscle tension and soreness after exercise.
  • As part of a morning exercise mobility programme.
  • To enhance mobility in nearby joints (but be careful, see below).
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How to use a Standing Desk effectively

There is no magic bullet or quick-fix solution that will save your body.

Standing desks seem to have become misunderstood as a panacea for improving physical health either at the office and more often in recent times, at home.

The fact is that standing is just another position, and if done for too long or in the wrong way, will create the same problems as excessively long periods of sitting.

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Reasons to consider a Partial Knee Replacement

Consider the following scenario:

You are a fit and active 65-year-old man; you play golf once a week and tennis twice a week. Your right knee has been creaking for a few years, and during the previous few weeks has become very sore, swollen and stiff. Your knee is now slowing you down, affecting your enjoyment of sport and exercise. You are waking with pain in the mornings and finding it slower to get up and going.

You consult an experienced chartered physiotherapist who, following a thorough clinical assessment, diagnoses you with medial compartmental knee osteoarthritis. Your physiotherapist provides a course of treatment which reduces your pain levels by 60% and improves the mobility and strength of your knee. A good result, but not quite enough to get you back to playing golf and tennis comfortably. What next?

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COVID-19: In-Clinic Appointments - Important Safety Information

We are open to provide primary healthcare including Chartered Physiotherapy to our clients in accordance with the latest government restrictions. Our role as essential healthcare providers is further supported by our professional body, the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists.

If you have booked a face to face, in-clinic appointment, please read the following important COVID-19 infection control information.

Face to face, in-clinic appointments are available weekdays for those who have not been diagnosed with COVID-19, are not awaiting a test, do not have symptoms and who are not self-isolating. If you are considered high or very high risk, we recommend that you consult with your GP before attending for physiotherapy.

In accordance with COVID-19 infection control and avoidance measures, we are implementing social distancing methods and strict sanitising within the clinic.

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I am having Surgery, do I need Physio?

A course of physiotherapy is usually beneficial before and, or, after a range of surgical procedures.1,2,3

Examples of orthopaedic procedures include total knee or hip replacements, a knee ACL reconstruction, a joint arthroscopy, a shoulder subacromial decompression as well as spinal procedures such as a lumbar discectomy and laminectomy. Physiotherapy may also be indicated following cardiac and pulmonary (lung) procedures as well as laparoscopies.

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The Young Arthritic Knee - What to do?

Osteoarthritis affects on average one in two people. Presently, people are being diagnosed with OA at a much earlier age than in previous years. More premature onset osteoarthritis may be a reflection of changes in activity levels, diet and other lifestyle factors.

As a result, it is predicted that in ten years, there will be seven times more osteoarthritis related to total knee replacement surgeries performed by orthopaedic surgeons.

According to the orthopaedic consultant, Mihai Vioreanu, preservation of the knee joint is critical. The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons recommends:

  • Low impact aerobic exercises such as cycling, swimming and walking
  • Weight loss if necessary
  • Building strength, balance and flexibility around the knee joints.
  • Correct use of anti-inflammatory medication, when indicated.
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Restrictions, Masks and Facial Expressions

As the year marches on, and we are still accompanied by COVID 19. Just when many of us felt we might have turned a corner, new restrictions are imposed here in Dublin which will impact on all our lives. However, rather than considering the new restrictions as a step backwards, we are hopeful they will be a step that moves us forward.

Here at the clinic, as an essential healthcare service, we will remain open and continue to look after our clients. We will continue to follow all the infection control and avoidance measures required to provide a safe but also welcoming environment. We are trying to limit 'COVID talk' and instead focus on you, providing support and reassurance where we can, while working to help you get better as quickly as possible.

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How can I get better quicker?

I am often asked this question. Most clients would prefer to have as few physiotherapy sessions as possible and be back in action quickly.

My response usually includes the following advice:

Attend your scheduled physiotherapy sessions. Regular treatment, especially at the outset, will allow the cumulative therapeutic effects to develop more rapidly. Education, manual therapy, electrotherapy, medical acupuncture & dry needling and therapeutic exercise all help ease pain and promote tissue healing and recovery.

Take on board and apply all the education and self-management advice. A good physiotherapist will provide you with loads of tips and strategies to ensure the right environment is created, both internally and externally, to facilitate healing recovery from injury. For example, posture is essential, as is movement, not just moving regularly but moving in the right way. Diet plays a role in recovery, as does rest and sleep. Getting into the right mindset, thinking correctly and managing your emotive response to pain can have a significant impact. The advice provided will depend on the individual; careful assessment is essential.

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