What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is the common name used for the elbow condition called lateral epicondylitis. It is an overuse injury that causes inflammation of the tendons that attach to the bony prominence on the outside of the elbow (lateral epicondyle). It is a painful condition occurring from repeated muscle contractions at the forearm that leads to inflammation and micro tears in the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle. The condition is more common in sports activities such as tennis, painting, hammering, typing, gardening and playing musical instruments.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Patients with tennis elbow experience elbow pain or burning that gradually worsens and a weakened grip
Diagnosis of Tennis Elbow
Your doctor will evaluate tennis elbow by reviewing your medical history, performing a thorough physical examination and ordering X-rays, MRI or electromyogram (EMG) to detect any nerve compression.
Treatments of Tennis Elbow
Your doctor will first recommend conservative treatment options to treat the tennis elbow symptoms. These may include:
- Limit use and rest the arm from activities that worsen symptoms.
- Splints or braces may be ordered to decrease stress on the injured tissues.
- Apply ice packs on the elbow to reduce swelling.
- Avoid activities that bring on the symptoms and increase stress on the tendons.
- Anti-inflammatory medications and/or steroid injections may be ordered to treat pain and swelling.
- Physical therapy may be ordered for strengthening and stretching exercises to the forearm once your symptoms have decreased.
- Pulsed ultrasound may be utilized to increase blood flow and promote healing to the injured tendons.
If conservative treatment options fail to resolve the condition and symptoms persist, Dr. Kilian may recommend a surgical procedure called the Tenex Fast procedure.