What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition affecting the tendons that connect your elbow to your forearm.
Tennis elbow is a form of tendinitis, stemming from repetitive gripping motion in the forearm. Over time, the tendons, located at the end of your wrist-extending muscle, develop tiny tears and become inflamed.
The inflammation causes pain, especially when you try to grasp or lift objects. Without treatment, the pain can become chronic, and keep you from working and doing the activities you love.
Causes of Tennis Elbow
As you might guess by its name, this overuse injury is common among tennis players, from many years of grasping and swinging a racquet at speed. But most people who suffer from this condition – about 95% – didn’t get it from racquet sports. Here are a few of the activities that have brought patients into our office:
- Using scissors.
- Weight lifting.
- Playing string instruments.
- Painting with a roller or brush.
- Bricklaying, carpentry, plumbing, or other manual labor.
Any repetitive activity that involves gripping, especially with the thumb and first two fingers, can cause tennis elbow.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Some signs and symptoms of tennis elbow include:
- Pain and tenderness in the elbow.
- Pain that radiates into the upper or forearm.
- Pain when lifting, grasping, or working with your hands.
Tennis Elbow Treatment
Over time, repetitive activities can strain the muscles and put stress on the tendons. This means that a well-developed treatment plan will both relieve the pain and tenderness and work towards a full limb recovery.
Most simple cases can be resolved with time away from the activity. But in more severe cases, we would recommend a conservative treatment plan, involving one or more of the following:
- Physical therapy for tennis elbow.
- Tennis elbow braces.
- Icing and resting the elbow.
If we don’t see improvement with these conservative measures, then we may want to try more advanced techniques, such as:
- Topical analgesics.
- Cortisone injections for tennis elbow.
- Platelet-rich plasma injections.
- Tenotomy – the surgical cutting of the tendon to release it from the joint, and remove the damaged tissue.
Tennis elbow is a common and treatable condition. If you’re experiencing painful symptoms, call us today for a consultation. Let our award-winning doctor show you the latest in innovative treatments for tennis elbow, and other tendinopathies.