Tennis Elbow: Causes, Symptoms, and Treatments

If you’re experiencing elbow pain, you’re not alone. Elbow pain is a common medical concern, especially among athletes and individuals with occupations that involve frequent, repetitive motions of the arms.

Tennis elbow is a prevalent cause of elbow pain. Unfortunately, this elbow condition can cause a significant amount of pain, but various treatment options are available for tennis elbow so that you can achieve relief from elbow pain. 

Causes of Tennis Elbow

The leading cause of tennis elbow is repetitive motion of the elbow. Overuse of the arm muscles, tendons, bones, and elbow ligaments can injure the elbow’s tendons, leading to tennis elbow. While anyone can develop tennis elbow, it’s more common among athletes in sports such as:

  • Tennis 
  • Golf
  • Baseball (especially pitchers)
  • Boxers 

Additionally, professionals in jobs that put a strain on the arms and elbows are at an increased risk of tennis elbow. Examples of workers who are especially susceptible to tennis elbow include chefs, painters, carpenters, autoworkers, and plumbers.  

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

The main symptom of the tennis elbow is pain in the lateral epicondyle, which is the bump on the outside of the elbow. The injured tendons in the elbow connect to the bone at this point, which is why it’s typically the point of discomfort in tennis elbow cases. In some patients, the pain radiates down into the upper or lower part of the arm. 

Generally, people with tennis elbow feel the most pain when they perform the following actions:

  • Grip objects
  • Lift objects
  • Turn doorknobs
  • Raise their hands
  • Straighten their wrists

Everyday motions can be painful if you have tennis elbow. Thankfully, treatment options are available to provide you relief from tennis elbow symptoms. 

Treatments for Tennis Elbow 

Both non-invasive and surgical treatment options are available for tennis elbow. Non-invasive treatments for this condition include:

  • Steroid injections
  • Physical therapy
  • Shock wave therapy

Sometimes, non-invasive treatment methods don’t provide improvement for tennis elbow pain. In these cases, surgical treatment may be required. In tennis elbow surgery, the damaged muscle is removed from the elbow while the healthy muscle is left intact and attached to the bone. This procedure may be completed as either open surgery or arthroscopic surgery. In open surgery, an incision is made over the elbow. In arthroscopic surgery, a smaller incision with a camera tool is used.  

If you’re seeking relief from tennis elbow pain, contact Suncoast Orthopaedic Surgery & Sports Medicine today.