Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
This is a painful condition where chronic inflammation of the tendons and surrounding areas in the arms and elbow causes discomfort and irritation. Over time, this stress can cause microscopic tears in the tissue.
What You Need To Know About Tennis Elbow
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a type of tendonitis that causes painful inflammation in the arm and elbow. Although it's called tennis elbow, only a small number of cases arise from playing tennis. You are as likely to get it painting a wall or working on your garden as you are from perfecting your serve. Tennis elbow is caused by any activity that causes too much stress on the elbow's related network of nerves from gripping or using the thumb, pointer, and middle finger.
Tennis elbow is the most common elbow-related cause for visiting the doctor. While anyone can develop the condition, it is most common in people around the age of 40 and up.
There are many types of treatments for tennis elbow. Depending on your condition, your doctor may recommend rest, medication, bracing injections, and surgery.
Trust Resurgens to get you moving again. Book an appointment now to talk to a doctor about your elbow pain.
What Causes Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow develops slowly over time. As you overuse these tendons, you cause pressure and inflammation on the elbow system. Stress from overextended and injured muscles and ligaments may eventually even lead to microscopic tissue tearing.
Although most people develop tennis elbow from activities that require gripping like weightlifting, fencing, weight lifting, knitting, painting, and typing, it is possible to develop it as a result of the elbow receiving a direct blow that causes intense trauma.
Patients have an average age of 40 years old, although you can develop the condition at any age.
Tennis Elbow Symptoms
Pain is the number one symptom of this condition. Typically patients report experiencing pain from the bony protrusion outside of the elbow. Pain is central to this area here because this is where the inflamed tendons connect to bone.
There are many triggers associated with elbow pain. Discomfort can arise from lifting/gripping objects, raising your arm, straightening your wrist, shaking hands, or opening doors. These triggers cause the pain on the outside of the elbow to increase.
How Tennis Elbow Is Diagnosed
A doctor can only diagnose your condition after a thorough examination. Your doctor will need to aggravate your condition to gauge your symptoms. Be prepared to experience discomfort during this portion of your exam. Additionally, your doctor may ask you to move your arm, or do an activity that causes the pain. They will also ask you questions about your lifestyle and medical history. These questions narrow down activities that may have caused your condition and will help you avoid future injury.
For many people, a cursory exam will be enough to diagnose their condition. However, if necessary, your doctor may conduct diagnostic imaging. Diagnostic imaging allows your doctor to evaluate your tendons, muscles, and soft tissue. Understanding the severity and extent of your condition will help them create an effective treatment.
Tennis Elbow Treatment
There are many treatment options available for tennis elbow. Your doctor will recommend options based on your condition.
For mild cases of tennis elbow, your doctor may recommend resting and modifying your routine. Ceasing to do any activity that causes your condition to flare up is essential to this part of your treatment. Rest will give your injury time to heal. You can pair this treatment option with over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medicines like Advil, Aleve, Motrin, Tylenol, or their store-brand equivalents.
Additionally, your doctor may recommend wearing a brace to promote your recovery. Using tape or other methods supports the injured area and realigns the pressure on your elbow. It can take a few weeks to complete treatment. Physical therapy will also help build up the elbow structure.
If these methods still haven't helped. Your doctor may recommend steroid injections to help alleviate your pain.
Your doctor may recommend surgery for more advanced cases of tennis elbow. Surgery will help relieve pain by removing a part of the damaged tendon. At Resurgens, your physician will never recommend surgery unless all other options have not produced optimal healing.
Your doctor will be able to give you a full run-down of treatment options for your condition. Book an appointment now at one of our 24 Metro Atlanta locations and get moving again.