Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)
Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is an inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow. Racket sports like tennis and pickleball tend to be a major cause for this injury and elbow pain, but any heavy use of the elbow with repetitive gripping and lifting can be a cause of this condition. It is a common work-related injury for plumbers, painters, carpenters, mechanics, and butchers. Generally, lateral epicondylitis develops gradually, but at times can occur acutely from an injury.
Causes and risk factors
- Extended use in activity
- Wear and tear of overuse
- Improper equipment in sports like tennis
- History of rheumatoid arthritis
- History of nerve disease
- Most often the dominant arm is primarily affected
- Tenderness in the outer elbow
- Burning in elbow
- Pain and weakness when using the affected elbow
- Pain with resistance
- Pain/wekness with gripping/lifting
Diagnosis and treatment
Several factors are considered by the doctors when making the diagnosis, including history of related injury, use, and health. Tests such as x-ray may be utilized to rule out other possible causes for elbow pain, such as arthritis or a fracture. The majority of tennis elbow treatment is done without surgery. These options may include rest, anti-inflammatory medicines, braces, and physical therapy. If your symptoms do not improve over 6-12 months, in some cases your doctor may advise surgery to allow you to return to comfortable, normal activity.