Despite its name, tennis elbow doesn’t only affect tennis players. In fact, most people who suffer from this painful condition do not play tennis at all.
Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is characterized by severe pain in the outer side of the elbow. The pain may be exacerbated when gripping an object. Fortunately, most cases of tennis elbow can be treated or cured with non-invasive treatments and the expertise of an orthopedic physician.
Causes of tennis elbow
Tennis elbow is caused by doing a job or activity that requires repetitive motion of your wrist and arm. Using a computer, doing carpentry and handiwork, gardening, or heavy scrubbing can cause tennis elbow. Additionally, a fall or an accident that injures your elbow can tear the tendons in your arm and cause this condition.
Treatment for tennis elbow
If you’re having pain in your elbow, talk with a qualified orthopedic specialist. He or she will evaluate your symptoms and determine the cause of your pain. Your orthopedic physician can diagnose the condition by physical exam, your symptoms, and sometimes a few simple tests.
Your physician may recommend some non-invasive options to treat tennis elbow.
These treatments may include:
- Ice and rest for the affected arm
- NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen
- Wearing a special brace
- Physical therapy
- Steroids: topical creams or injections done by your physician
Most people achieve significant pain relief using one or more of these methods. Once your tennis elbow is relieved, you can usually resume normal activity, but be careful to avoid the same injury again. If your pain persists, your physician may discuss surgical options.
Surgery for tennis elbow is highly successful when performed by an orthopedic surgeon who is trained to treat elbow injuries.
What to do after treatment
Once you have worked with your physician to relieve the pain, treat your arm with care. If the tennis elbow was caused by overuse of your hand or arm, make sure you have the proper equipment and technique in place to avoid getting the same injury again. You will also need to avoid any motions that cause pain, and avoid tight gripping whenever possible.
CarePoint Health's Bone Health program is designed to help prevent, detect, and treat osteoporosis and low bone density. To learn more about our orthopedic services, contact CarePoint Health at 1-877-791-7000.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.