What is Tennis Elbow?
There are many different medical terms for Tennis Elbow such as Lateral Epicondylitis, Lateral Epicondylalgia or Common Extensor Origin Tendinopathy. There are many muscles on the back of the forearm that all join and attach near the elbow by a small, shared tendon. Tennis Elbow occurs when that tendon gets overloaded, inflamed, strained or a combination of all three. Tennis Elbow commonly occurs due to unaccustomed, heavy or repetitive hand, wrist or forearm activities. It is now quite uncommon for Tennis to be the cause as racquets have become lighter and forehand techniques have changed a lot since this condition was first named.
What are the symptoms of Tennis Elbow?
The main feature of Tennis elbow is pain directly on the outside bony point of the elbow. Usually the pain is aggravated by lifting and gripping at certain angles of elbow, forearm and wrist movement.
How is Tennis Elbow diagnosed?
In the vast majority of cases, Tennis Elbow can be diagnosed by an experienced expert Sport and Exercise Physician without the use of scans.
What is the treatment for Tennis Elbow?
There is no single treatment for Tennis Elbow. Sometimes inflammation is a factor which means medication or injections to reduce the inflammation will help. Often tendon damage is involved but usually this repairs best not with rest but with certain exercises that will encourage it to heal in the correct way. It is important that these exercises are done correctly as the wrong exercises can aggravate the problem. Usually we also need to address the underlying causes, whatever they are identified to be. Your Sport and Exercise Physician will carefully take you through this process as every single tendon is different. When managed correctly, even the most difficult Tennis Elbow has an excellent chance of completely resolving.
Do injections for Tennis Elbow work?
Sometimes Tennis Elbow requires an injection, but this is very rarely (if ever) the only form of treatment. An anti-inflammatory (or cortisone) injection may be required if there is inflammation involved. Sometimes injections can also be used to increase the healing response in a damaged tendon to make the exercise rehab more effective. Injections often have excellent results but only when carefully considered and combined with the right type of complimentary treatment.
Is surgery required for tennis Elbow?
It is extremely rare for correctly administered non-surgical treatments to fail and for surgery to be required in this condition.