Tennis Elbow

Do you suffer from pain in your elbow joint? Is the area chronically swollen or inflamed? Do you feel pain when you straighten your arm? These are typical symptoms of tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis.

What is Tennis Elbow?

The Mayo Clinic's definition of tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is "a painful condition that occurs when tendons in the elbow become overloaded, usually by repetitive motions of the wrist and arm."

What causes Tennis Elbow?

Like so many modern day joint conditions, tennis elbow generally manifests after years of repetitive activity that puts pressure on the elbow joint. When it comes to tennis elbow, we pay particular attention to the tendons in the forearm. These tendons attach the muscles of your forearm to the elbow's outer bone.

A muscle in your forearm called the ECRB, or extensor carpi radialis brevis, helps you raise your wrist. When this muscle is injured or damaged over time, the painful condition known as tennis elbow manifests. Tiny tears in this muscle's tendon at the location where it attaches to the outside of the elbow create inflammation, which causes pain-and tennis elbow.

What forms of activity are associated with tennis elbow?

What professions are prone to tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow signs and symptoms?

How to prevent tennis elbow

Like anything, prevention is preferable to suffering through any kind of painful condition. Here are a handful of useful tips and tricks for preventing tennis elbow:

Diagnosing tennis elbow

Like many other joint conditions, a physical exam is likely needed to diagnose tennis elbow. It will consist of simple lifestyle questions and tests. Scans and an MRI may be necessary to dismiss more serious issues. All in all, the diagnosis for tennis elbow is a relatively pain-free process, except maybe the brief moment when Dr. Eubanks might apply pressure to the area to check for pain. Arthritis of the elbow has similar symptoms, which is why an imaging test may be necessary.

Noninvasive treatments for tennis elbow

Many natural forms of treatment can be effective for this condition. In fact, 80-95% of cases are treated successfully with a combination of the following techniques:

More invasive ways to treat tennis elbow

Some tennis elbow cases will beg other forms of treatment, for example:

Surgical Intervention

The need for surgery is rare, but in some instances necessary. If it's been a year since your chosen treatment and the tennis elbow has failed to heal and recover fully, you're a candidate for surgery. Should you need tennis elbow surgery, Dr. Eubanks will determine which method is right for you. One involves a scope that's inserted arthroscopically into the elbow, while the other uses the method of open surgery with a large incision over your elbow. Both techniques get rid of dead tissue and attach the healed muscle to bone. Post-surgery recovery typically involves immobilizing the area by wearing a splint to bring about muscle flexibility and strength.

If you've been experiencing pain and inflammation in the elbow area for a while, and suspect tennis elbow may be the issue, we encourage you to make an appointment with Dr. Eubanks. He’ll schedule a physical examination to determine the proper treatment and next steps for recovery.

Our Surgeon Specializing in Tennis Elbow

Image of Dr. Ryan Eubanks, Hand, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon
  • Ryan Eubanks, DO
  • Hand, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgeon
  • Mesa
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