CNY Orthopedic Sports Medicine, PC: Injury: Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)

Injuries and Conditions: Elbow: Lateral Epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)

Tennis elbow is a condition resulting from tiny tears in the tendon connecting the muscles of the forearm to the lateral epicondyle (the outside of the elbow). The micro-tears in the tendon lead to inflammation and pain in the elbow.
  • Tennis elbow is caused by a repetitive motion that continuously strains the tendons around the elbow. Not only tennis, but any activity that requires excessive and repetitive use of the hand and wrist can cause tennis elbow.
  • The weekend or occasional athlete is most susceptible to this condition due to a significant change in the intensity or the duration of an activity. The result is pain in the elbow.
  • Older individuals develop tennis elbow more frequently than their younger counterparts.
  • Early recognition of pain and inflammation in the outside of the elbow can prevent further damage to the tendon and should not be ignored.
  • Most treatment generally is conservative, beginning with the elimination of the problematic activity, icing of the area and administration of anti-inflammatory medication (NSAID's). An arm sling or cortisone injections may also be beneficial.
  • Surgery required for cases where function is impaired, or the tendon has detached from the elbow.

  • Signs and Symptoms
  • Pain in the outside of the elbow.
  • Pain during movement of the hand and wrist, particularly in a repetitive twisting motion.
  • An elbow which is tender to the touch.

  • Contact the Doctor if ...
  • The patient has persistent signs and symptoms of tennis elbow.
  • Continuous or recurrent pain is present after the problematic activity has been stopped and treatment initiated.
  • The patient experiences unexplained symptoms, other types of pain, or unexpected side effects from medication.

  • Common Causes of Injury
  • Localized overuse or repitition of a new activity involving the hand or forearm.
  • Activities that require repetive motions and place excessive stress on the elbow region.

  • Expectations of Recovery
  • A full recovery after a period of rest and rehabilitation.
  • Considerable time - weeks and sometimes months - is necessary to properly rehabilitate the elbow because ordinary activities, like turning on a car's ignition, carrying a briefcase, or typing, can aggravate the symptoms.
  • If the injury is sports' related, consulting a teaching pro can assist in correcting poor techniques that may contribute to the injury or possible re-injury. Correct form and the use of proper equipment may prevent reinjury.


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