Tennis elbow is a condition that’s characterized by inflammation in the elbow and forearm. Especially if it’s left untreated, tennis elbow can cause severe pain and a loss of strength in the arm and wrist. But with effective treatment options, it’s possible to find relief from tennis elbow symptoms.
What Is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is technically referred to as lateral epicondylitis. It’s a type of overuse injury caused by the inflammation of connecting tendons between the forearm and the elbow. When the muscles and tendons in this area are overused from repetitive motions, such as swinging a tennis racket or using a screwdriver, it can result in discomfort and weakness.
What Causes Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow can develop for any number of reasons, but your risk may be increased by the following causes:
- Sports, namely tennis and other racket sports
- Occupations requiring excessive use of the wrists and elbows, namely plumbing, carpentry, cooking, butchering, and painting
What Are the Symptoms of Tennis Elbow?
Symptoms of tennis elbow are typically mild at first and worsen over time. Also, symptoms are exacerbated with any motion that uses the muscles in the forearm. Common symptoms include:
- Pain and soreness in the elbow and forearm
- Stiffness in the elbow
- Tenderness, especially on the outer side of the elbow
- Weakness in the forearm muscles
How Is Tennis Elbow Treated?
Nonsurgical treatments for mild cases of tennis elbow include rest, cold and heat therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, corticosteroid injections, and physical therapy. These treatments may help you manage tennis elbow symptoms.
Surgical treatment for tennis elbow is also available for long-term symptom relief. Your surgeon will examine your case of tennis elbow to determine the best course of surgical treatment. In most cases, the surgery will involve an incision over the elbow. Then, your surgeon will remove the damaged tendon and attach healthy tendon back to the bone. Additionally, less invasive treatment options are available including ultrasound guided debridement and PRP (platelet rich plasma) injection.
Most patients can return home immediately after surgery for tennis elbow. The recovery period lasts for approximately four to six months, after which you can return to physical activity involving the affected elbow.
If you’re struggling with symptoms of tennis elbow, contact us today to learn more about the treatment options available to you.