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Tennis Elbow

What Is Tennis Elbow?

Lateral Epicondylitis (commonly known as Tennis Elbow) is an overuse injury of the elbow involving overload of the extensor tendons which originate from the lateral epicondyle of the elbow.

What Are The Causes Of Tennis Elbow?

Tennis Elbow is caused by repetitive stress from repeated heavy gripping and elbow movement.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of Tennis Elbow?

People with Lateral Epicondylitis will notice pain, swelling, and tenderness on the outside, or lateral side, of the elbow. Pain is commonly experienced while extending the risk and fingers while gripping an object such as a tennis racket.

What Are The Risk Factors Of Tennis Elbow?

This injury occurs most commonly in men and women between the ages of 35 and 50, usually from playing sports which require a repetitive swinging motion, such as tennis and racquetball. Lateral Epicondylitis can also be caused by repetitive heavy lifting with the palm facing downwards.

How Is Tennis Elbow Diagnosed?

Your doctor will perform a detailed review of your history, as well as a physical examination and X-ray of the elbow area. An MRI or ultrasound may be employed to assess whether any of the extensor tendons have been torn off of the bone.

What Are The Possible Treatments For Tennis Elbow?

The first step in treating Tennis Elbow is taking a break from racket sports or any other activity causing repetitive movement of the elbow. Other measures include icing the affected area, taking anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and receiving physical therapy. For tennis players, altering your racket to lower string tension and larger grip, or playing on a slower surface may help.

In some cases, a regimen of steroid injections (no more than two or three) may be necessary.

Are There Preventative Steps Or Measures To Avoid Tennis Elbow?

If you are new at racket sports, you should make sure to have your racket professionally adjusted. Also, make sure to listen to your body – if you begin to feel pain on the outside of your elbow, it’s important to take a break from heavy lifting, racket sports, or other activities that may be contributors. Continuing to play through the pain can cause the injury to worsen.

What Are The Risks If Tennis Elbow Is Left Untreated?

If Lateral Epicondylitis is left untreated, tendon insertion can continue to degrade and become detached from the underlying bone, making healing more difficult.

Are There Other Related Conditions To Tennis Elbow?

Medial Epicondylitis, or Golfer’s Elbow, is a similar repetitive stress injury which causes tendon pain on the inside of the elbow.

Key Takeaways About Tennis Elbow

Tennis Elbow is a painful repetitive stress injury involving the tendons which attach to the lateral side (outside) of the elbow. Most cases can be addressed with conservative treatments such as taking a break from related physical activities and icing the affected area. More severe cases may call for cortisone injections to decrease the pain. Ignoring the injury or attempting to “play through the pain” may cause the tendon to detach from the bone, causing healing to take longer.

Meet Dr. Erin Nance

Dr. Erin Nance specializes in orthopedic hand and upper extremity surgery, as well as traditional orthopedic services. Dr. Nance takes her time with every patient in her Midtown East, New York office, ensuring everyone gets the care and attention they deserve. Learn More »

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