What is a tennis elbow?
Tennis elbow is injury that occurs from overuse of the elbow and its extensor muscles, and is common in tennis players due to repeated back-hands causing strain to those muscles. It ranges from just inflammation in the tendons of the lateral side of the elbow to tearing.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Symptoms of tennis elbow are typically pain and tenderness over the outer elbow area. Pain during everyday activities, anything that involves the use of forearm muscles and the wrist is also common.
What are the causes?
Tennis elbow is caused by overuse of the elbow, either through playing sports such as tennis which require constant elbow use and strain on the muscles around the joint, or everyday activities.
How is it diagnosed?
Pain and tenderness around the elbow are a good indicator of tennis elbow, and an official diagnosis can be made through a thorough history and a physical exam. An ultrasound or MRI would confirm the diagnosis.
How is it treated?
Tennis elbow typically responds very well to conservative treatment, does not often require surgery. About 90% of the time it will get better with a combination of therapies, starting with rest or activity modification, anti-inflammatory medications, and physical therapy. If necessary, different injections have been prescribed as well.
How can it be prevented?
For overuse injuries, working with a physical therapist and trainer can ensure athletes are as flexible and as strong as possible to prevent injury. It is also important to identify the warning signs for injury earlier, such as fatigue, decrease in range of motion, weakness; and to get ahead of it before it becomes serious.