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Tennis Elbow: What You Need to Know

Bandaged elbowTennis elbow is a relatively common injury that can be caused by many types of everyday activities. It is a type of tendonitis, a swelling of the tendons that can cause pain in the elbow and throughout the arm. Also known as lateral epicondylitis, it primarily affects people between the ages of 30 and 60.

What Causes Tennis Elbow?

One of the most common causes of tennis elbow is – you guessed it – tennis! Repetitive motions and gripping a racket during a swing in sports like tennis, racquetball and squash, can put strain on the muscles in the arm, causing too much tension in the tendons which can ultimately cause pain and discomfort.  

But despite its name, tennis elbow is not only caused by playing tennis. It can also be caused by other activities that require repetitive arm movements, vigorous use of the forearm muscles or tight gripping. Some activities that may cause tennis elbow to occur include knitting, raking, painting, plumbing, and cooking.

What Are the Symptoms of Tennis Elbow?   

Those who are suffering from tennis elbow often experience pain and tenderness on the outer aspect of the elbow, over the bone region where the tendon attaches. Pain may also be experienced into the forearm and hand. Movements like shaking hands, making a fist, squeezing an object, twisting a doorknob and writing are often painful for those with tennis elbow. Other symptoms of tennis elbow include a burning sensation, stiffness in the joint and swelling in the afflicted area.

What Are Some Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow?

There are a variety of options when it comes to treating tennis elbow. Treatments vary depending on how severe the case of tennis elbow is and include both non-surgical and surgical options.

Non-surgical treatment options for tennis elbow include:

  • rest
  • icing the elbow
  • anti-inflammatory medications to reduce swelling
  • physical therapy and range of motion exercises
  • a brace or an elbow strap to protect and support the muscles and tendons afflicted
  • steroid injections

Surgical treatment of tennis elbow involves reconstructive surgery, during which the damaged section of the tendon is removed and the tendon that remains is repaired. Recovery from surgery may include physical therapy to regain motion and strength of the arm. Recovery can be expected to take 4 to 6 months.

The best way to know which of these options is right for you is to contact your healthcare provider or make an appointment for a consultation with a hand specialist.

What Should You Do If You Have Tennis Elbow?

If you think you may be suffering from tennis elbow, make an appointment with your primary care doctor, or with a doctor who specializes in the treatment of arms, wrists and hands. Your doctor will perform an examination and may do some tests to determine what the best course of action is for treating your specific case of tennis elbow.

Looking for a specialist with experience treating hand, arm and wrist pain in the Glens Falls area? Contact Garcia Plastic and Hand Surgery today! Dr. Juan Garcia has years of experience treating patients with arm, wrist and elbow injuries. He can provide you with a skilled assessment of your injury and provide valuable information about treatment options so you can make an informed decision about how to best manage and treat your specific ailment.

Give us a call at 518-793-0475 or fill out our simple online form to schedule a consultation today!