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Tennis Elbow: Not Just for Tennis Players


Tennis Elbow: Not Just for Tennis Players

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When you hear the term “tennis elbow,” you might assume it is an injury suffered by tennis players. In fact, it is a common orthopedic injury that affects millions of people each year, many of whom have never picked up a tennis racket or played a game of tennis. You can better understand what tennis elbow is by learning what causes this injury and how it is treated by doctors today.

What is Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow is a common orthopedic injury that is also known as lateral epicondylitis. It affects the outside of your arm specifically where your forearm meets your elbow. The muscles and tendons in this part of your arm become painful and swollen from overuse.

Tennis elbow is a type of repetitive injury that can impact people of any age. The extensor carpi radialis brevis, or ECRB, muscle suffers small tears from overuse of this part of your arm. The tears cause the symptoms of tennis elbow that make everyday life more difficult for people with this orthopedic condition.

This painful injury can make simple tasks like gripping an object or lifting something painful and, in some instances, impossible. If left untreated, tennis elbow can develop into a chronic condition that could render this part of your arm almost entirely useless.

Tennis Elbow Symptoms

Tennis elbow presents itself through several notable symptoms. They include:

  • Moderate to severe pain
  • Muscle weakness
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle spasms
  • Swelling

These symptoms prevent you from performing mundane tasks like gripping a coffee cup, turning a doorknob, or even shaking someone’s hand.

Tennis Elbow Treatment

Tennis elbow can be easily treated with prompt medical care. Depending on its severity, it may respond well to rest and alternating ice and heat. It also can be addressed with physical therapy.

However, severe cases of elbow tennis may need surgical intervention. Surgical procedures can include the injection of platelet-rich plasma or Botox.

It also can include ultrasonic tenonomy, which involves the insertion of a vibrating needle into the tissue. The needle liquefies the damaged tissue before it is suctioned out of the forearm.

Your doctor may also perform invasive surgery for chronic cases of tennis elbow. The surgery involves an extensive incision and several weeks of recovery and physical rehabilitation.

Tennis elbow makes gripping, lifting, and other everyday tasks painful. You can overcome this common orthopedic condition by undergoing physical therapy or surgery for it.