Tennis Elbow

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis Elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, results from damage and disorganized healing of the tendon over the outer aspect of the elbow that helps to raise the wrist.

Tennis Elbow

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis Elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, results from damage and disorganized healing of the tendon over the outer aspect of the elbow that helps to raise the wrist.

Causes and Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

Causes

Repetitive wrist movements can result in increased wear and tear of the tendon over the outer aspect of the elbow.  This can result in disorganized healing or even tears of the surrounding tendons and ligaments.

Overdoing the activities mentioned below could cause muscle strain in the elbow joint, consequently triggering the Tennis Elbow.

  • Gardening using Shears
  • Painting
  • Using Plumbing Tools
  • Racquet sports such as Tennis and Badminton
  • Playing the Violin

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow 

Tennis elbow can range from mild pain while doing minor tasks to severe pain even when the elbow is at rest. The pain tends to increase as one engages in activities that involve too much wrist movement.

Some of the early signs of the painful condition includes:

  • Pain over the outer aspect of the elbow that is worse with carrying heavy load
  • Persistent aching around the elbow joint  area
  • Worsening pain when grasping or holding an object
  • Tenderness in the elbow area followed by soreness of the forearm muscles

How is it diagnosed?

Physical Examination

Tennis elbow can usually be diagnosed from signs and symptoms alone. The Orthopaedic Surgeon will isolate the area of injury,  and also try to rule out other causes of pain in the elbow.

Imaging tests

X-rays are used in some cases to rule out other causes of pain in the elbow joint. Ultrasound or MRI scans may be used to confirm the diagnosis by visualizing the damaged tendon.

Tennis Elbow

How is it diagnosed?

Physical Examination

Tennis elbow can usually be diagnosed from signs and symptoms alone. The Orthopaedic Surgeon will isolate the area of injury,  and also try to rule out other causes of pain in the elbow.

Imaging tests

X-rays are used in some cases to rule out other causes of pain in the elbow joint. Ultrasound or MRI scans may be used to confirm the diagnosis by visualizing the damaged tendon.

Tennis Elbow

Treatment Options

With adequate rest and activity modification, tennis elbow tends to heal on its own. Taking a break from strenuous activities that strain the elbow joint muscles and tendons can help speed up the healing process.

Keep in mind that if your condition requires surgery, your Orthopaedic Surgeon should always educate you on:

  • Risks of the surgery
  • How to prepare for a surgery
  • What will be required for post-op care

Physiotherapy and Activity Modification
Targeted stretching, strengthening and flexibility exercises can help to alleviate pain and improve the function of the elbow.  Changing the grip size and string tension of your tennis racquet as well as avoiding playing with wet tennis balls can also help reduce the chance of recurrence of this problem.

Medications
Medications may be prescribed to help manage your symptoms (e.g. anti-inflammatory, paracetamol)

Surgery is a treatment option for persistent cases of tennis elbow where non-surgical approaches have failed. 

Elbow Arthroscopy
In some cases, elbow arthroscopy is first performed to rule out other causes of elbow pain, as well as to assess the stability of the elbow. The standard surgical treatment for tennis elbow involves cleaning up the damaged tendon and repairing it where possible. 
Read More

Elbow Tendon Repair or Reconstruction
Surgery generally involves cleaning up and repairing the damaged tendon or reconstruct the damage tendon if it is irreparable.

Disclaimer

Shoulder | Elbow Orthopaedic Group does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians that are referenced in this article. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her Orthopaedic Surgeon.

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us at [email protected]

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