Tennis elbow is a painful condition that is frequently trivialized by those who do not have it. The condition is basically a soreness or pain in the elbow that results from damage to tendons in this area that results from repeated actions such as those made when playing racquet sports. The pain may be localized or it may extend down the arm toward the wrist. The formal name of tennis elbow is “lateral epicondylitis”. Orthopedic surgeons use anti-inflammatories and other treatments to reduce the characteristic swelling and pain associated with the condition.
Who Gets Tennis Elbow
In spite of its name and frequent occurrence in tennis and racquet ball players, tennis elbow is not limited to any single group of people. It is believed to develop from over-use of the tendons in the elbow while performing activities that cause you to repeatedly twist the muscles in the same direction repeatedly. While many tennis players do get the condition, anyone who performs activities that work the same group of muscles repeatedly are at a greater risk. This includes:
Tennis elbow also occurs more frequently to those people who perform this type of activity who are in their 40s. Once the condition develops, pain can prevent them from being able to perform the duties that brought about their symptoms. Simple activities like opening a jar or turning on the knob on the stove can result in severe pain. Their ability to work can be compromised along with enjoying their favorite activities. Orthopedic surgeons can diagnose and treat tennis elbow effectively, usually without the need for surgery.
Diagnosis of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow is a condition that affects soft tissue, so an X-ray will not show the damage causing the condition. However, X-rays may be ordered to rule out other conditions that cause similar pain. Imaging tests, such as MRIs, are often used to diagnose the condition. The patient’s history of symptoms will also be considered along with the results of a comprehensive physical examination.
Conservative Treatment for Tennis Elbow
The first step towards treatment that is usually suggested by orthopedic surgeons is to rest the affected arm and avoid the activities that caused the condition or make it worse. Applying ice packs can help relieve inflammation, as can taking NSAIDs or applying creams that contain pain relievers to the affected area. A counter force brace may be used to decrease the pressure on the tendon while using the hand to grasp or twist an object.
When Conservative Efforts Fail
Between 5% and 20% of people with tennis elbow fail to get relieve through conservative efforts. When this occurs, orthopedic surgeons can perform surgery to remove the degenerative portions of the tendon.
Dr. Adam Faber from Phoenix Shoulder and Knee in Phoenix, AZ, is one of the finest orthopedic surgeons. He will provide you with conservative and/or operative treatment for your tennis elbow, depending on your specific situation and the degree of treatment that you need. Dr. Faber and Phoenix Shoulder and Knee use cutting edge treatments to provide individualized care for a wide range of sports injuries and degenerative conditions.