Tennis elbow also known as lateral epicondylitis, is the painful inflammation of the attached tendons found at the elbow. Contrary to the belief that only tennis players suffer from this condition, anyone can be at risk of tennis elbow even if they do not play the sport. This condition is caused by overuse leading to muscle strain injury.
Tennis elbow occurs when there is repetitive contraction of the forearm muscles used to straighten your hand and wrist. As a result, tiny tears may occur in tendons that attach these muscles to the bony prominence at the outside of your elbow.
Playing tennis employing poor stroke technique can possibly cause tennis elbow. Many other activities can also result in tennis elbow, such as the use of plumbing tools, screw driver and prolonged mouse usage
Signs And Symptoms
The symptoms of tennis elbow include pain and tenderness, usually at the bony knob on the outside of the elbow. The pain may gradually radiate from the outside of the elbow down to the forearm and wrist. Some patients may experience an increased level of pain when performing actions such as squeezing an object, lifting something up, or opening a jar. In certain cases, the symptoms may also lead to patients having a weak grip.
Tennis elbow is diagnosed by history taking and physical examination. Some doctors will ask about your job, the frequency and kind of sports you play, as well as the development of your symptoms. Your doctor may also send you for an x-ray or MRI scan to rule out other conditions such as joint or bony injury.
Most tennis elbow cases can be treated without surgery and doctors will usually start off with the following conservative treatment methods. One of the treatment options include resting your arm for a period, so as to not exacerbate the condition. A forearm brace may be used to reduce tension on the injured muscles. Arm stretching exercises and physical therapy is also one of the helpful treatment methods that can be used to help patients regain strength in their arms and resume their normal activities. Your hand specialist may also administer a steroid injection to relieve the pain and inflammation.
Surgery is only recommended if your tennis elbow symptoms do not improve after a period of treatment. The aim is to remove devitalised tissues and to reattach healthy muscles back to the bone. Postoperative rehabilitation are important for recovery.
Every case is different, hence it is best to consult a hand surgeon to determine the treatment method that is most suitable for you. Reach out to us today if you are suffering from tennis elbow and let us help you.