Do you experience elbow pain that causes you discomfort on a frequent basis? If so, you may have a condition called tennis elbow.
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is one of the most common causes of elbow pain in the United States. It is caused by overuse of the elbow, which leads to stress injury and subsequent damage to the tissues in the elbow joint.
Tendons are fibrous, rope-like tissues that connect a muscle to a bone; the tendons that tend to be affected in tennis elbow connect the forearm muscles to the lateral epicondyle bone, which is the protruding bone on the outside of the joint. When tennis elbow develops, tiny tears form in this tendon – causing inflammation, weakness, and pain.
What Causes Tennis Elbow?
The most common way to get tennis elbow is overuse due to repetitive motion, especially while playing sports and while working. Many sports require constant use of the elbow and repetitive movements of the arm, such as in tennis, baseball, and basketball.
Likewise, many professions require repetitive arm movements throughout the day. This includes factory workers, movers, hairdressers, and cleaners.
Symptoms of the Condition
The most common symptom of tennis elbow is pain in the forearm, near and around the elbow. The pain is usually felt on the outside of the elbow, but it can also spread further down the forearm.
Sudden pain and weakness in the elbow and forearm when lifting objects is also a common sign. Eventually, the pain is accompanied by weakness – so patients often experience the inability to pick up objects they previously had no trouble with, or the inability to wash dishes or fold laundry. Some patients may also experience swelling or bruising at the elbow.
Even though these are considered “common” symptoms, you should still see a doctor for diagnosis and possible treatment to help you regain your ability to use your arm fully.
Tennis Elbow Treatments
Doctors treat tennis elbow in a few ways. First, you will be advised to reduce the elbow’s movement so more damage doesn’t develop and the tendon can heal. Second, your doctor may recommend medications to minimize or eliminate pain symptoms.
Taking these measures generally reduces tennis elbow symptoms significantly in a matter of weeks or months, depending on the severity of the condition. In cases of severe tennis elbow or if the tendon is not healing, the doctor may recommend surgery to correct the problem.
Sports Medicine Specialists in Texas
If you suspect that you may have tennis elbow or another musculoskeletal issue, it’s time to get in touch with a doctor who can diagnose and treat you. The medical team at Tarpon Orthopedics provides comprehensive and patient-focused care to help reduce pain and restore the body’s normal functions, because we specialize in sports medicine and pain management.
Call us today at (972) 596-1059 to make an appointment in the West Plano, North Plano, or Addison locations. You can also request an appointment online. We can provide fast and effective treatment so you can get back to the life you love.