What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition of the elbow caused by overuse. Not surprisingly, playing tennis or other racquet sports can cause this condition. However, several other sports and activities besides sports can also put you at risk.

Tennis elbow is inflammation or, in some cases, microtearing of the tendons that join the forearm muscles on the outside of the elbow. The forearm muscles and tendons become damaged from overuse — repeating the same motions again and again. This leads to pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow.

There are many treatment options for tennis elbow. In most cases, treatment involves a team approach. Primary doctors, physical therapists and, in some cases, surgeons work together to provide the most effective care.

“This is a common thing that we are seeing patients for right now,” Dr. Jared Hudspeth said.

He noted the commonality of the condition due to increased activity with the warmer weather. Activities such as golf, tennis, yard work, gardening and spring cleaning can trigger pain in this area.

What are the symptoms?

The symptoms of tennis elbow develop gradually. In most cases, the pain begins mild and slowly worsens over weeks and months. There is usually no specific injury associated with the start of symptoms.

Common signs and symptoms of tennis elbow include:

  • Pain or burning on the outer part of your elbow
  • Weak grip strength
  • Sometimes, pain at night

The symptoms are often worsened with forearm activity, such as holding a racquet, turning a wrench or even shaking hands. Your dominant arm is often affected; however, both arms can be affected.

When should you see a doctor at Piedmont Ortho?

If you are unable to perform daily tasks it is time to schedule an appointment with one of our doctors.

They will work with our physical therapy department and put you on a treatment plan.

How can Piedmont Ortho help you recover from tennis elbow?

About a month ago, Kelly Smith felt something wrong in her right arm after lifting something that was a little too heavy. After checking with her insurance company, she found Piedmont Ortho in her network and scheduled an appointment with Ashley Peppers, our nurse practitioner.

During the appointment, Kelly was diagnosed with lateral epicondylitis, commonly known as tennis elbow. She was then provided a treatment plan with Heath Mills, a physical therapy assistant and certified athletic trainer at Piedmont Ortho.

Since she began working with Heath, Kelly is on the path to recovery and getting back to doing things without thinking about the pain in her arm. When asked about how it is to work with Heath, Kelly said, "He's awesome. Heath is very easy going and very encouraging."

Kelly has less inflammation in her arm since working with Heath, and she is already planning what she will do once her treatment has finished, including going fishing and throwing the ball around for her dog.

If you notice something just doesn't feel right, that's when it's time to give us a call to see one of our professionals. We will work with you to get you back to what you love doing, just like we are with Kelly.

posted 05/12/2022 in Pain Management



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