Tennis elbow, which is technically called lateral epicondylitis, is a painful elbow condition caused by inflammation in the tendons attached to the bony outer part of the elbow—the lateral epicondyle. It’s commonly called “tennis elbow” because it’s typically caused by certain repetitive movements of the wrist, such as swinging a tennis racquet. However, while this is a common injury in tennis players, it isn’t limited to just athletes. In this blog, the elbow specialists at Mirza Orthopedics will explain the best treatments for tennis elbow.
What causes tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow is a repetitive use injury to the tendon attached to the outer, or lateral, side of the elbow. Most tennis elbow cases are due to damage to the tendon of one forearm muscle in particular, the extensor carpi radialis brevis or ECRB.
Repetitive use, such as hitting groundstrokes on the tennis court, can weaken the muscle and can create microscopic tears in the tendon where it’s attached to the lateral epicondyle.
What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?
If you have tennis elbow, pain in your elbow will probably be the most prominent symptom. The outer bony part of your elbow will be tender to the touch, and the elbow will probably chronically ache.
You may find that the elbow is stiff in the morning when you first get up and will get progressively looser throughout the day. Your forearm too may be sore and tender, and the pain in both your elbow and forearm will probably be worse when you grasp or hold things.
What are the best tennis elbow treatments?
Most cases of tennis elbow can be successfully treated with conservative measures. In fact, home care is often all that is needed to resolve tennis elbow.
Common tennis elbow treatments include:
- Resting the elbow and refraining from movements that put strain on the tendon
- Icing the elbow to reduce inflammation and swelling
- Taking anti-inflammatory medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen
- Practicing stretching and strengthening exercises for the forearm
Treatment usually includes adjusting form or techniques in your tennis game or occupational tasks to reduce the amount of stress placed on the injured tendons. Wearing a brace centered over the back of your forearm may also be recommended to reduce strain. Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy, which uses platelets in your own blood to rebuild the damaged tendon, may also be an option.
Surgical treatment for tennis elbow is seldom necessary, but if your symptoms don’t respond to conservative treatments in six months to a year, surgery might be an option.
The type of surgery that is typically performed involves removing damaged muscle and reattaching the healthy muscle to your bone, which can be done arthroscopically via small incisions.
Where can I find tennis elbow treatment in Long Island?
Mirza Orthopedics is the premier orthopedic hand, wrist, elbow & shoulder center on Long Island, serving active patients of all ages from Suffolk County, Nassau County and beyond.
Our Smithtown orthopedic practice specializes in tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) treatment, and our orthopedic experts can explain your options.
We offer the latest nonsurgical and surgical treatment options for all types of hand and upper extremity injuries and conditions.
You don’t have to live with pain. If you are suffering from the symptoms of tennis elbow, the first step to relieving your discomfort and becoming pain-fee is a consultation with one of our orthopedic experts.
If you’re ready to be pain-free and get back on the court, contact Mirza Orthopedics today to schedule an appointment.