You don’t need to be a keen tennis player to get tennis elbow, a painful condition affecting many people who never even pick up a tennis racquet. If you have pain in your elbow, Dilhan Abeyewardene, MD, can find out what’s wrong and provide the right treatment. Dr. Dilhan is an orthopedic hand surgeon at Orthopaedic Care Specialists in North Palm Beach, and he has considerable experience in treating patients with sports and other injuries. For prompt, high-quality treatment, call the Dr. Dilhan’s office today, or book an appointment using the online tool.
Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis, to give it its medical name, is a painful condition caused by making the same arm movements over and over again.
It’s called tennis elbow because tennis players make these types of repetitive movements, and so are prone to the condition. However, only about 5% of tennis elbow cases develop in people who play tennis.
The problem with making repetitive movements is that it tends to cause small amounts of damage that build up over time. In tennis elbow, it’s the tendons connecting your forearm muscles to your bones that suffer from this damage.
These tendons can start to tear at the elbow end; just tiny little microtears that you might not notice when they occur. Over time the microtears increase until they begin to cause inflammation.
Once the tendons become inflamed, the other parts of your arm come under more stress, and the symptoms of tennis elbow start to appear.
Tennis elbow typically causes aching on the outside of the affected arm, at the point where your elbow joins your forearm. The aching gradually gets worse and becomes more painful, and as the inflammation increases, the arm becomes tender to touch as well.
Left untreated, tennis elbow can affect how well you can use your hands. Trying to grip an object or lift something can be very painful, and you might feel a lack of strength in the elbow.
Golfer’s elbow or medial epicondylitis is a similar condition to tennis elbow, but it causes symptoms on the inside of the joint.
Rest, anti-inflammatory medication, and physical therapy are usually effective in treating tennis elbow. If your condition is due to playing tennis or other sports, a sports coach can help you find ways to avoid causing stress on the elbow. You might also need to wear a brace or strap on your forearm to reduce stress as much as possible.
If these initial treatments aren’t having an effect, Dr. Dilhan might recommend ultrasonic tenotomy or TENEX. This is a method of liquefying damaged tissue using ultrasonic energy and suctioning the liquid out of your arm.
In some patients, surgery is an option where other treatments aren’t helping after at least six months. Tennis elbow surgery involves removing the damaged tissue, where possible, using minimally invasive techniques.
If you’re experiencing pain in your elbow, you may have tennis elbow. Call Dr. Dilhan today or book an appointment online for diagnosis and effective treatment.