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Dr. Andrew Rynne
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Dr. Andrew Rynne

Family Physician

Exp 50 years

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Article Home Bone, Muscle and Joint Disorders Tennis Elbow Or Lateral Epicondylitis

Tennis Elbow Or Lateral Epicondylitis

It is also known as Lateral Epicondylitis and is a commonly encountered problem in orthopedic setup. In this condition there is pain and tenderness over the outer part of the elbow. It commonly affects the persons who play tennis regularly but anyone can suffer this condition. It is supposed to be an idiopathic, self limiting condition of middle age and there are no clear evidences to support that it occurs due to tennis playing or due to over usage of the limb. Tennis Elbow involves the extensor muscles that originate on the lateral epicondylar region of the distal part of the humerus.

It is also known as Lateral Epicondylitis and is a commonly encountered problem in orthopedic setup. In this condition there is pain and tenderness over the outer part of the elbow. It commonly affects the persons who play tennis regularly but anyone can suffer this condition. It is supposed to be an idiopathic, self limiting condition of middle age and there are no clear evidences to support that it occurs due to tennis playing or due to over usage of the limb. Tennis Elbow involves the extensor muscles that originate on the lateral epicondylar region of the distal part of the humerus. Tennis Elbow involves the muscles that originate on the lateral epicondylar region of the distal humerus. It can also be called as tendinosis that involves the origin of the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle.


Symptoms

  • Pain at the outside of the elbow and it goes to forearm and wrist

  • Feeling of weakness in the forearm

  • Pain will increase over the period of time

  • Gripping something with the affected hand can cause the pain

  • Difficulty in handling certain obtects

  • Difficulty in bending the elbow

  • Elbow might look deformed

Who gets Tennis Elbow?


The tennis Elbow may result from tiny tears in muscles and tendons around the elbow. While the muscles and tendons are in healing process usually one gets the injury again. This repeated injury may lead to formation of scarred tissue with calcium deposits, even the collagen may leak out from the injured area leading the swelling of the elbow. This swelling can result in pressure over the area which can affect the blood supply to the area. Decreased blood flow to the nerves can lead to further swelling, pain and weak grip. It generally affects the tennis players, mainly if the player has a faulty backhand. There are other movements which can result in Tennis Elbow like Plumbing, Painting etc. which involve the repeated movements of the forearm in a similar manner.


Diagnosis


It is mainly based on physical examination and the symptoms which a patient tells to the doctor. There are no blood tests to diagnose the problem. X-Rays are also not of any help. More advanced studies like Ultrasound and MRI(Magnetic Resonance Imaging) may be of some help.


Treatment and Drugs


Mainstay of the treatment are Medical measures, very rarely one may require the Surgery. As it is a self limiting disease it may get resolved by itself over a period ranging from six months to two years.

  • Various exercises are done so as to strengthen the muscles especially those including the full range of motion

  • Patients which have moderate grade pain are sometimes prescribed the ice application and some antiinflammatory drugs like ibuprofen and naproxen, but they are not prescribed for long times as they can lead to gastrointestinal complications.

  • Patients may be advised some braces and straps to reduce stress on the injured tissues. If the pain is severe and persistent injectable corticosteroids may be prescribed to reduce redness, pain and swelling. Injectable corticosteroids have very less side effects

  • If the pain is persistent one may have to undergo surgery to relieve the symptoms