Do you have pain in or around your elbow? It could be tennis elbow—even if you’ve never picked up a racquet in your life. Also known as lateral epicondylitis, this overuse injury occurs when the elbow tendons are overburdened through repetitive arm and wrist motions. Playing a lot of tennis is one way to get it, but it’s not the only way. In addition to athletes, the orthopedic elbow specialists at Premier Bone & Joint Centers in Torrington, Wyoming, provide tennis elbow treatment to many plumbers, painters, carpenters, and cooks.
Tennis elbow pain is usually felt at the point where the forearm tendons attach to the bony bump on the elbow (the lateral epicondyle). The pain may also travel down the forearm into the wrist and hand. Usually, the discomfort worsens when the elbow tendons are stressed through activities such as gripping and lifting, but any arm motion can be uncomfortable.
How Is Tennis Elbow Treated?
Sometimes, tennis elbow symptoms will resolve on their own, but the healing process is gradual—it can take up to two years for the pain to completely go away. In the meantime, conservative treatment can improve your comfort. Some options include:
- Activity modifications – You should temporarily avoid any activities that cause or worsen your pain. Following a brief rest, you may find it helpful to learn and use proper lifting and gripping techniques.
- Bracing – You can wrap a special tennis elbow strap around your forearm just below your elbow. This type of brace can help stabilize your upper forearm and reduce the stress on your painful elbow tendons.
- Physical therapy – We may suggest targeted stretches, muscle-strengthening exercises, and moist heat applications to ease your arm and elbow pain.
- Medications – You can take over-the-counter pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as needed.
- Corticosteroid injections – To address severe tennis elbow symptoms, a powerful anti-inflammatory medication can be injected directly into the inflamed area of your elbow.
In general, we suggest surgical treatment for tennis elbow only in cases where the pain is debilitating, has lingered beyond several months, and has not improved with conservative therapy. The procedure, which is usually performed on an outpatient basis, involves relieving pressure on the painful elbow tendon and repairing damaged tendon tissue.
At Premier Bone & Joint Centers, you can explore your treatment options for tennis elbow with a board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic elbow doctor. Contact us today to schedule an appointment at our satellite clinic in Torrington, WY.