Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis is described as pain in the lateral part of the forearm, just below the elbow. This is the location where the extensor tendons (the tendons that extend the fingers) attach to the bone. Strain in this area leads to inflammation and pain, mostly due to overuse of the tendons.
Patients with tennis elbow experience pain in the lateral part of the forearm. Sometimes, the pain could be caused by the compression of a nerve in the forearm, so a specialist has to correctly diagnose the condition before they can treat it.
Tennis Elbow Symptoms and Diagnosis
• Pain in the lateral part of the forearm.
• Weakness in the forearm.
A hand specialist is able to diagnose tennis elbow through a series of exams and occasionally some imaging tests, such as X-ray, EMG, or MRI.
Tennis Elbow Non-Surgical Remedies & Relief
• Rest: stopping the repetitive activity that causes the condition in the first place will help relieve the symptoms.
• Physical therapy
• Brace: using a brace centered over the back of the forearm.
• Extracorporeal shock wave therapy: sending sound waves to the elbow creates a “microtrauma” that promotes the body’s natural healing process.
• Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines: drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen.
• Steroid injections: should only be applied by a specialist.
Tennis Elbow Surgery
• Arthroscopic surgery: a minimally-invasive procedure using endoscopes and small incisions. This is an outpatient procedure that requires smaller incisions and a quicker recovery time.
• Tenex Procedure: a minimally invasive technique that uses sound-wave technology to treat chronic tendon pain. This procedure is also known as Percutaneous Tenotomy or Percutaneous Fasciotomy.
Some doctors will inject PRP or stem cells in the area, to promote healing. While that option usually does not cause harm, the long term benefits of doing so have yet to be established, and currently ongoing research is taking place.
Our physicians at Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas are experienced in performing minimally invasive procedures to treat hand and arm problems. Schedule an appointment today!
Tennis Elbow Post Surgery Care
Keep dressings clean and dry. The dressings come off in 7-8 days after surgery and should be removed by the physician unless otherwise instructed.
The condition is most commonly called tennis elbow because the repeated swinging motions in tennis (or any similar racquet sport) put great stress on arm muscles and tendons.
What causes Tennis Elbow?
Any repetitive or overuse of the extensor tendons of the fingers (those tendons which extend or straighten out the fingers) will cause tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis.
Is age a risk factor?
Tennis elbow can affect people of all ages, but the condition most commonly affects people over 40.