Five Common Pains That You Need to Take Seriously

Pain in Your Elbow

If you feel pain just above your elbow on the outside of your forearm which worsens when you try to grip or do some typing on a keyboard, you may have developed lateral epicondylitis, more commonly known as tennis elbow.

Despite the name, tennis elbow is a condition rarely found in seasoned tennis players. In fact, it presents in more recreational tennis players (usually due to a faulty backhand) and higher level golfers (the lead arm is most susceptible). It is also quite prevalent in a sedentary population; a problem that’s only increasing due to the repetitive strain induced by excessive use of keyboards and/or smart phones.

Tennis elbow can subside on its own if the affected area is rested, but as many people won’t or can’t stop typing or using their phones, the issue can persist for months or even years before they seek medical attention. By that point, damage to the tendons would be so severe that rehabilitation can take months with far more strict interventions than if the pain had been seen to early on.

Pain in Your Ankle

Everyone knows that when you accidentally twist your ankle inwards this is known as an ankle sprain. Sprained ankles are a common injury in day to day life as well as when running or playing sports. Mistreatment of ankle sprains make them far more common than they need to be.

The general advice for ankle sprains is to rest, take some anti-inflammatories and wait for the pain to resolve itself, but the fact that 30-40% of patients go on to develop recurrent sprains or continued pain tells us that this advice isn’t working. Repeated ankle sprains can lead to a condition called chronic ankle instability, which results in a weakened ankle joint and pain during daily activity.

If you’ve sprained your ankle, it’s very important that you see a physiotherapist to have it properly rehabilitated, which will consist of a comprehensive strengthening programme, manual therapy and an Aircast A60 ankle brace. This will dramatically reduce the risk of suffering from another ankle sprain, and the less you sprain the ankle, the healthier it will be.

Pain in Your Bum

Pain deep in your buttocks which becomes aggravated when sitting, running or lifting weights may be a sign of proximal hamstring tendinopathy. Most people think of the hamstring as the tendons along the back of the knee, but there’s a second group of tendons called the proximal hamstring tendons which attach the hamstring muscles to the sitting bone.

As bending the hips aggravates proximal hamstring tendinopathy, rehabilitation is difficult and slow. If you’re sitting for most of the day – as most people are – it’s impossible to give the affected area the rest it needs, so rehabilitation has to focus on very gradual exercises that isolate the proximal hamstring while keeping the hips in a neutral position.

Rehabilitation is still slow even in the best-case scenarios. If you’ve been ignoring the problem for weeks or months, this rehabilitation period increases exponentially, so make sure you see us while the pain is still in the early, niggly stage.

Pain in Your Shin

There are two common types of shin pain which affect the bone: pain right along the front of the shin (tibia) and pain along the inner side. Pain in either location may indicate a stress fracture, but while a fracture along the side can heal quite well without serious intervention, a fracture along the front may require surgery or at least six to eight weeks in a boot.

Stress fractures are a result of repeated load through the bone that outstrips the bone’s ability to replace damaged bone with fresh tissue. Running at a distance or intensity that you’re not used to, or running uphill, can overload the bone, leading to pain that gradually worsens if you don’t give the bone time to heal. Continue to ignore the pain, and you could end up with a difficult to treat stress fracture.

Pain in Your Achilles Tendon

Your Achilles tendon takes anywhere from four to six times your body weight when you run. No tendon in your body works harder, which also makes it highly susceptible to injury in athletic and sedentary populations alike, who can develop tendinopathy from overuse and underuse respectively.

Tendons are dense tissue with very limited blood flow, which means that it takes a long time for the body’s natural healing mechanisms to take effect. Because the Achilles tendon is the longest in the body, it takes even longer to heal than most, with even mild aggravations requiring up to a year of rehabilitation.

If you’re feeling any of the above pains, please get in touch with us to make an appointment by calling 0207 937 1628 or emailing In the meantime, don’t try and struggle through: listen to your body, rest the affected area and come and see us.

david wynne physiotherapist knightsbridgeDavid Wynne BSc (Physio) MSc (Sports and Exercise Medicine) MCSP MHCP

Musculoskeletal and Sports Physiotherapist, Research Lead at West London Physiotherapy

For any other questions regarding this topic please do not hesitate to contact West London Physio on 0207 937 1628 or email David at