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What Is Tennis Elbow?

A type of tendinitis, the medical term for Tennis Elbow is Lateral Epicondylitis. It happens due to repeated use of the muscles, ligaments and tendons of the elbow joint. This overuse causes inflammation of the forearm’s outside tendons that secure the muscles of the forearm. In turn, this inflammation leads to discomfort, which can range from tenderness to extreme pain in the outside portion of the elbow.

woman playing tennis

Tennis Elbow Causes and Risk Factors

It is no surprise that tennis players and those who play other racquet sports are most susceptible to tennis elbow, but the condition is not limited to those who spend significant time on the court. Any repetitive or gripping activities can result in tennis elbow, like:

  • Weight lifting
  • Carpentry
  • Fencing
  • Typing

Golfer’s Elbow is similar, but instead affects the elbow’s inside tendons. Any age group can develop this condition, but it is most commonly seen in people age 40 and above.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

Signs and symptoms of Tennis Elbow can include:

  • Pain and tenderness in the bony knob on the outside of the elbow
  • Pain radiates to the upper or lower arm
  • Pain worsens when using the hands, lifting, gripping objects, or straightening the wrist

When Surgery Is Necessary

Non-surgical treatments include icing, using an elbow strap, non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDs), injections, specific exercises or physical therapy, and rest. If two to four months of these treatments do not result in complete healing, surgery may be required. During surgery, the damaged tendon is removed and the remaining tendon repaired, with full recovery achieved in 85 to 90% of the patients treated. Tennis Elbow pain that is restricting activity should be evaluated by a physician. Contact Dr. Madsen at Madsen Orthopedics for a diagnosis and to seek treatment.

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