What is Tennis Elbow - Causes, Risk Factors, Treatment and More
Sports / Orthopedic

What Is Tennis Elbow?

Mercy Health | Sep 26 2017

If you’re feeling an ache where your forearm meets your elbow, it could be tennis elbow

Did you know you can get tennis elbow even if you’ve never picked up a racquet? Tennis elbow, formally known as lateral epicondylitis, is a common orthopedic condition where the tendons surrounding the elbow begin to swell. This causes pain on the outside of the arm, where the elbow connects to the forearm.

Tennis elbow is a type of tendinitis, an injury caused by inflammation of the tendon. Tendinitis is typically an overuse injury. Therefore, while any frequent, recurring motion can cause this condition, the repetitive strokes of tennis increase your chances of overuse.

Tennis elbow can also be caused by other racquet sports, weight lifting, or jobs that require repetitive motions such as typing, painting and cooking. People over the age of 40 are most likely to develop the condition.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

The first sign of tennis elbow is discomfort on the bony knob on the outside of your elbow. Though tennis elbow usually begins as a slight ache, after several weeks or months, the pain will worsen to become a chronic condition.

Pain, swelling and stiffness are all signs of tennis elbow, and they may continue throughout your entire arm. Pain often spikes when you lift something heavy, straighten your wrist, or grip an object, such as a tennis racquet.

Lateral epicondylitis can heal on its own if rested. During early stages, rest, ice and an anti-inflammatory medication may be enough to relieve pain. However, if the condition has progressed, you will need to schedule an appointment with your orthopedic or sports medicine doctor.

Diagnosis and Recovery

Your doctor will perform a full medical exam on your elbow, wrist and arm to diagnose the condition. An X-ray or MRI may also be required. Recovery is dependent on the severity of your case. Advanced cases can require physical therapy, a steroid injection or using a splint or brace.

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, a Mercy Health sports medicine doctor can help find the treatment that’s best for you. Reach out today at 513-952-5000 or make an appointment with a Mercy Health primary care provider to start your road to recovery.

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Could my primary care doctor diagnose tennis elbow or do I need to see an orthopedic surgeon?
September 27th, 2017 | 8:28am

Mercy Health

In most cases, tennis elbow can be diagnosed by your primary care physician by performing an examination of the affected area and considering your personal and medical history. If advanced care is necessary, your primary doctor would refer you to an orthopedic specialist or surgeon for further treatment.
September 27th, 2017 | 9:05am

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