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What is Tennis Elbow?

A tennis elbow, which is medically known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition in which the tendons attaching the forearm muscles to the elbow joint are inflamed and swollen due to excess and repetitive strain on the elbow. A repetitive action stressing over the tendons commonly seen while playing sports, such as tennis or other strenuous games, can result in this condition. It is a common condition seen in players of cricket, tennis, badminton and squash.

What are the main signs and symptoms?

The symptoms of tennis elbow gradually increase with time and worsen if overlooked. The most common signs of this condition developing are

  • Constant pain on the outside and around the elbow joint
  • Loss of grip
  • Pain and stiffness in performing small tasks involving movement at the elbow joint
  • Swelling and redness over the elbow joint

What are the main causes?

The main cause of developing a tennis elbow is performing strenuous actions repeatedly on the elbow joint, which damages the ligaments. Other causes of developing this condition are:

  • Playing sports, which require upper arm strength, e.g., tennis, squash
  • Other activities, such as javelin throw, discus throw, and activities involved in gardening

How is it diagnosed and treated?

The physician may perform a physical examination and inquire about what actions lead to the appearance of the symptoms. The doctor may order certain tests to confirm if there is any damage to the tendons and muscles:

  • X-ray
  • MRI scan
  • Electromyography (EMG) to inspect any nerve damage

Both surgical and non-surgical treatments are available for the condition. Most cases of tennis elbow can be managed without surgery. The treatment options include

  • Physical therapy
  • Anti-inflammatory medicines
  • Rest and avoidance of any strenuous activity

If the condition worsens, the ligaments are operated and the damaged tendons are repaired. This, however, requires rehabilitation to regain the strength. Overall, the condition is not so threatening and is mostly treatable non-surgically.

  1. Medicines for Tennis Elbow
  2. Doctors for Tennis Elbow
Dr. Deep Chakraborty

Dr. Deep Chakraborty

Orthopedics
10 Years of Experience

Dr. Darsh Goyal

Dr. Darsh Goyal

Orthopedics
10 Years of Experience

Dr. Vinay Vivek

Dr. Vinay Vivek

Orthopedics
6 Years of Experience

Dr. Vivek Dahiya

Dr. Vivek Dahiya

Orthopedics
26 Years of Experience

References

  1. National Health Service [Internet]. UK; Tennis elbow.
  2. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Tennis elbow
  3. Buchanan BK, Varacallo M. Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) . [Updated 2019 Jan 20] In: StatPearls [Internet]. Treasure Island (FL): StatPearls Publishing; 2019 Jan-.
  4. healthdirect Australia. Tennis elbow. Australian government: Department of Health
  5. HealthLink BC [Internet] British Columbia; Tennis Elbow
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