When patients hear of “tennis elbow,” they often think of a condition that is caused by playing racquetball. Oddly enough, this condition can be caused by any type of repetitive motions, whether it be out on the court or in the workplace. Tennis elbow, which is medically known as lateral epicondylitis, can be a problematic condition for many patients.
What is tennis elbow?
The arm has many muscles and tendons that help it to function properly. The extensor carpi radialis brevis is a tendon that can become inflamed. This tendon runs from the forearm and is attached to the elbow. When overuse occurs, the condition of tennis elbow is often diagnosed. Symptoms of tennis elbow typically includes pain and tenderness on the bony area outside of the elbow joint. The pain may be located in the joint or down the upper or lower arm, depending on where the inflammation resides. Patients may notice pain when they perform certain tasks such as turn a door knob, shake hands with business partners, grip an object, or make a fist. Diagnosis can be achieved with patient’s first-hand explanation of the pain they are experiencing and with imaging tests such as MRIs or x-rays.
Ways to improve tennis elbow
In many situations, tennis elbow can heal on its own. By giving the muscles and tendons a break, you can help speed healing. During the recovery period, patients can do some of the following:
- Ice the elbow. Icing areas where pain and swelling occur is often the first line of treatment, along with rest.
- Use elbow straps. During the recovery period, protect the injured tendon with elbow straps, which can reduce further strain.
- Take medications. Oral medications can be used to help in controlling pain and discomfort, especially those that are suited for inflammatory conditions such as ibuprofen and aspirin.
- Physical therapy. Physical therapy is perfect at strengthening and stretching the muscles while improving range of motion, increasing flexibility, and reducing stiffness in the elbow and surrounding joints.
Discuss the importance of care following a diagnosis of tennis elbow
Conditions such as tennis elbow may require the assistance of the team at Orthopedic Associates of Long Island. Call (631) 689-6698 to schedule an appointment at any one of the seven locations available in the communities of New York. Our practice can provide appropriate care and attention, and make recommendations for the healing process.