Let Us Help You Diagnose Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow, also called lateral epicondylitis, is a condition caused by repetitive motions using the forearm. Pain and discomfort from tennis elbow can make it difficult to perform daily tasks.
Tennis Elbow Causes
The most common cause of tennis elbow is damage to the forearm muscles. The area where your forearm muscles attach to your upper arm bone on the outside of your elbow is called the lateral epicondyle.
A repetitive motion of the forearm can lead to muscle damage. People who use their forearms frequently — such as when gardening, playing tennis or golfing — have a greater risk of developing tennis elbow. Repetitive work can also increase the likelihood of tennis elbow (including carpentry, painting, plumbing, assembly line work, cooking and typing at a computer).
Tennis Elbow Symptoms
The most frequent symptoms of tennis elbow include soreness, pain, burning and tenderness. This is most often felt on the outside of the elbow, on the top of the forearm and sometimes in the wrist. If you have tennis elbow, it’s not uncommon to have weakness in your forearm when you try to grip something like a pen, golf club or hammer. Symptoms may worsen with more intense activities.
If you’re experiencing tennis elbow symptoms and want relief, speak with an orthopedic provider at UPMC for the right diagnosis.
Tennis Elbow Diagnosis at UPMC
At UPMC, your doctor will diagnose tennis elbow by performing a physical exam and reviewing your medical history. During the exam, your doctor will evaluate your range of motion and level of discomfort to determine the extent of your problem. Any type of work or recreational activities you take part in should be discussed with your doctor at this time.
To get a better picture of your elbow, your doctor may order an X-ray or MRI to confirm or rule out related conditions like arthritis, or electromyography (EEG) to rule out nerve compression.
Tennis Elbow Treatment
Treatment for tennis elbow will depend on the severity of your discomfort and the extent of your condition.
Treatment may include:
- Reducing repetitive arm motions to give your muscles a chance to rest
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce swelling and inflammation
- Physical therapy to help strengthen your arm muscles
- A wrist brace or forearm strap to relieve stress on the forearm muscle and tendon
- Steroid injections for temporary pain relief
- Surgery if other treatments aren’t successful after six to 12 months. An orthopedic surgeon will reattach the damaged muscle and tendon to the bone.
UPMC provides expert orthopedic care and treatment for tennis elbow in Williamsport, Wellsboro, Lock Haven, and Muncy, PA.