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Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition of the elbow that can be caused by overuse or instigated by trauma. It can caused by playing tennis or other racquet sports but many people who play no sports at all suffer from tennis elbow.


Tennis elbow is an inflammation of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow.


This leads to pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow.

Although its a tendinitis, patients with tennis elbow can find the simplest of tasks painful and debilitating including lifting a cup of coffee, shaking hands, writing and typing.

Typically any kind of lifting is extremely painful.


Your elbow joint is a joint made up of three bones: your upper arm bone (humerus) and the two bones in your forearm (radius and ulna). There are bony bumps at the bottom of the humerus called epicondyles. The bony bump on the outside (lateral side) of the elbow is called the lateral epicondyle.

Lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow, involves the muscles and tendons of your forearm. Your forearm muscles extend your wrist and fingers. Your forearm tendons — often called extensors — attach the muscles to bone. They attach on the lateral epicondyle. The tendon usually involved in tennis elbow is called the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB).

Treatment of Tennis Elbow

There are many treatment options for tennis elbow. In most cases, treatment involves a team approach. Most cases of tennis elbow are effectively treated without surgery.

Non surgical treatment typically involves splinting, exercises and medicine either by mouth or injection. Sometimes Physical or Occupational Therapy is needed.

Cases of tennis elbow that don’t get better with non surgical treatments can be treated “surgery”.
Treatments can be broadly divided into 3 categories:
Shockwave therapy Arthroscopic Surgery and Open Surgery.

  • Extracorporeal shock wave therapy sends sound waves to the elbow.
    These sound waves create “microtrauma” that promote the body’s natural healing processes. Shock wave therapy is considered experimental by many doctors, but some sources show it can be effective. This procedure can be performed by the oosatron, without an incision but it still requires anesthesia.
  • Arthroscopic Surgery can be used Tennis elbow can also be repaired using tiny instruments and small incisions.
    Like open surgery, this is a same-day or outpatient procedure.
    Dr. Lopez, Hand Surgeon at Brandon Orthopedic Associates, feels this is a effective but less invasive treatment than open surgery as it is less damaging to the surrounding tissues.
  • Open surgery is another option to treat tennis elbow.
    This involves making an incision over the elbow.
    Open surgery is usually performed as an outpatient surgery.

A consultation with an orthopedic doctor is the fastest and safest way to diagnose tennis elbow. If you feel you are suffering from tennis elbow, request an appointment today.