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Is the Pain in My Elbow “Tennis Elbow”?

Despite what the name may imply, Tennis Elbow is not relegated only to tennis players and is actually an injury that stems from overuse of the elbow tendons. The medical term for Tennis Elbow is lateral epicondylitis, and is an inflammation of the tendons of the forearm where they insert into the elbow joint. The term Tennis Elbow was coined due to the fact that the repetitive elbow motion required of tennis players often led to this injury. However, there are several other sports and occupations that have a very high instance of lateral epicondylitis.  — Who Gets Tennis Elbow? In fact, housekeepers, painters, carpenters, plumbers, auto workers, cooks and other labor occupations are statistically more likely to suffer this injury than an athlete. The reason for this is thought to be the repetitive motion of using tools, coupled with the constant lifting of heavy objects puts excess strain on the elbow tendons.

This injury is also common among those who engage in weight training at the gym several times per week. If proper form is not used when curling, bench-pressing or fly exercises, small tears in the tendons are not able to properly heal and can cause the pain associated with lateral epicondylitis. — What Are the Symptoms? The symptoms of this condition are progressive and only begin as mild pain or discomfort in the beginning.  As the condition progresses, the pain can become more chronic.  The most common symptoms are:

-Pain at the outside of the elbow

-Burning feeling at the outside of the elbow

-Difficulty gripping objects

-Soreness in the forearm

-Pain that is worse when squeezing an object  — How Is It Treated? Fortunately, 80%-95% of lateral epicondylitis injuries can be treated using conservative modalities such as physical therapy and/or therapeutic injections. The goal of physical therapy will be strengthen the muscles, tendons and ligaments of the elbow to increase mobility and reduce pain.

In rare instances, the injury may require a surgical procedure to repair the damaged tendons and reattach the tendon to its intended position on the bone. This procedure is generally performed using a Minimally Invasive approach with the utilization of a small incision along the outer aspect of the elbow and can be performed on an outpatient basis.

At The Orthopaedic & Sports Medicine (OSM) Center we utilize the collective skills of our exceptional providers to deliver the most complete musculoskeletal care available. From your first appointment, you are cared for by a team specifically built based on the best treatment for your condition. If surgery is necessary, you will be paired with an OSM surgeon who has the expertise and experience in your specific condition. Our surgeons use the latest minimally invasive techniques where appropriate to ensure fast recovery.  Contact us today to schedule a consult.

At OSM, we are passionate about athletics and sports medicine. Our staff actively competes in endurance sports like marathons, triathlons as well as golf, tennis and a variety of other sports, so we understand an athlete’s priority to get back in the game quickly. We care for athletes at the highest level of professional, college and high-school sports as well as weekend warriors.