When the outside (lateral) epicondyle tendon is overloaded – usually as the result of repetitive stress over time – it becomes irritated and sore. This tendon is connected to the forearm muscles that allow you raise your hand and extend the fingers and wrist. Tiny microtears may appear in the tendon, causing inflammation and pain at the elbow.
Despite its name, anyone engaging in motions that repeatedly contract these forearm muscles are at risk of developing tennis elbow. That includes those holding certain occupations, including plumbing, painting, construction, and even those who regularly use a computer keyboard and mouse.
Signs and Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Symptoms associated with tennis elbow may range from mild to severe and may include:
- Difficulty bending, extending, or lifting the arm
- Difficulty gripping an object or shaking hands
- Difficulty turning the forearm, as when turning a doorknob
- Soreness and warmth in the elbow
- Pain on the outside of the elbow
- Pain that radiates down the forearm and into the wrist
- Swelling at the elbow
As is the case with most types of tendonitis, symptoms worsen when engaging in the movements that contributed to the problem in the first place.
Treatment for Tennis Elbow Pain
Rest, immobilization, and anti-inflammatory medications tend to relieve tennis elbow symptoms. When these measures fail to bring relief, your orthopedic physician may recommend other treatment methods, including:
- Pain-management injections may help relieve tennis elbow symptoms.
- Surgery to remove damaged tissue at the elbow.
- An arthroscopy can be used to make sure there’s no other elbow issue causing your symptoms.
- Physical therapy (PT) is crucial to proper recovery after a tendon injury such as tennis elbow. Strengthening exercises as well as stretching are part of the typical PT program.
Orthopedic Doctor in St. Louis, MO
Don’t let tennis elbow keep you off the courts! See an orthopedic physician who specializes in treating tennis elbow and get back to the activities you enjoy – without pain. Call Dr. Jason Browdy in St. Louis, Missouri at (314) 991-2150 or request an appointment now.