The tendons that are responsible for straightening your fingers or extending your wrist and hand all originate (or are anchored) at the outer aspect of your elbow bone, also called the lateral epicondyle of the humerus. With overuse, the tendons that anchor onto this bone can become inflamed and cause issues in daily life. This is referred to as lateral epicondylitis or more commonly, tennis elbow. Tennis elbow can affect either arm and most people who get it don’t even play tennis. Ironically, there is a similar condition called golfer’s elbow, which occurs on the inner side of the elbow, but that is a topic for another blog.
When the condition interferes with daily life, there are a number of treatments that are available to treat this. The team at Steven S. Goldberg, M.D. P.L. in Naples, FL meets with people experiencing pain from tennis elbow and helps them figure out a treatment plan.
What Causes Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow isn’t something that is linked only to tennis. Other sports and activities that require repetitive movements that cause stress to the muscles in the forearm can cause this. Some of these activities include golfing, painting, cutting meat, and computer mouse use or virtually any activity that requires repetitive reaching or twisting. People who use repetitive hand movements in professions like carpentry, plumbers, dentistry, and musicians may be at similar risk of tennis elbow as athletes. What makes tennis elbow so frustrating is that patients experience pain not just when doing something heavy, but also when doing very basic activities. Because we are using our arms constantly as we live, it is hard to completely rest the area or avoid provoking the pain.
How Does Tennis Elbow Affect People?
- Patients will frequently experience pain at the elbow or forearm when reaching or grasping, even for such light things as a pen or a cup of coffee.
- Pain when lifting children or pets. Sometimes, these issues can develop as one tries to take care of their family and live a normal life at home.
- Difficulty shaking hands and performing other professional activities.
- Carrying bags, purses or suitcases can be painful when dealing with tennis elbow.
Can Tennis Elbow Be Prevented?
Taking time to stretch before you start to exercise or participate in sports may prevent some damage to your body. Stretching the arm and elbow before playing a game of tennis or racquetball might keep one from developing tennis elbow. If pain starts to develop while playing, take a break, apply ice to your arm and rest the elbow for a few days. If the pain persists, you may want to visit an orthopedic surgeon like Dr. Goldberg.
How is Tennis Elbow Treated?
When dealing with tennis elbow, there are a number of treatment options available. In most cases, initially, we recommend rest, ice and often an elbow or wrist brace. Physical or occupational therapy is often prescribed. In some cases, when pain is persistent for a long period of time, a small procedure to remove the inflamed tissue and reattach the healthy tendons can be performed as outpatient surgery.
Schedule a Consultation
If pain is causing you to stop or limit your activities and you are frustrated because of elbow pain, Steven S. Goldberg, M.D. P.L. may be able to help. Schedule a consultation today and we will be happy to discuss your concerns and help you determine a treatment plan for tennis elbow.