Tennis Elbow Treatment

Tennis elbow, also known as “lateral epicondylitis,” is a painful and functionally-limiting condition affecting many patients. Tennis elbow is caused by degeneration within the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) tendon on the outside of the elbow. Despite the name, tennis elbow is not just limited to tennis players. In fact, tennis elbow is commonly diagnosed in patients between the ages of 30 and 50, many of whom have never played tennis.

Patients experience pain on the outside of the elbow and often point to a very tender spot near the lateral epicondyle bony prominence (see image below). Symptoms can be aggravated by a forceful, repetitive activity with the hand and wrist, such as the tennis backhand swing or heavy gripping. Lifting light objects, gripping the steering wheel, and even simple household activities can be painful at times. Fortunately, the majority of patients with tennis elbow improve with non-operative treatment, although symptoms often take several weeks or months to resolve. Conservative treatment includes stretching exercises, braces, rest, oral anti-inflammatory medications, therapy, and injections.

Please watch this video produced by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand for more information. If you have pain in your elbow and would like to be evaluated by a hand and arm specialist, please call Raleigh Hand Center for an appointment.

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