Did you know that you don’t need to be a tennis player to experience tennis elbow? Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is an overuse injury caused by repetitive motions of the elbow and wrist. This injury has been named after the most common activities that can cause tennis elbow, such as tennis and other racquet sports. However, certain occupations such as being a plumber, painter, or butcher can cause this overuse injury as well.
Common Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Watch for these symptoms that indicate this overuse injury:
- Pain or burning on the outer part of the elbow
- Weak grip strength
- Symptoms are worsened with forearm activity
- Development of symptoms gradually
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, Dr. Hicken can help. When you schedule your appointment with him, he’ll perform a thorough examination to determine your diagnosis. From there, he will create a treatment plan specific to your needs. In some cases, further diagnostic imaging tests will be recommended. The following tests would be used to help rule out any other causes for the pain your experiencing:
- X-ray. This test will provide a clear image of the bones that could be affected. These images may be recommended to rule out conditions such as arthritis of the elbow.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan. Oftentimes, pain in the arm can be caused by an issue with your neck or a herniated disc. The MRI scan allows Dr. Hicken to see soft tissues such as discs in your neck that often lead to pain in your arm.
- Electromyography. This test can often rule out nerve compression, which is a common cause of pain around the elbow. Symptoms of nerve compression are often common to those of tennis elbow.
Depending on the severity of your injury, tennis elbow can be treated both surgically and nonsurgically. Approximately 80%-95% of patients have success with nonsurgical treatment. If nonsurgical treatment is recommended for you, you’ll be referred to physical therapy. Your physical therapist will give you exercises that will be specific to strengthening the muscles involved with this overuse injury. Throughout physical therapy, you’ll also learn proper body mechanics which will help to prevent this injury from worsening in the future. Prevention is key when you work with a physical therapist. Another nonsurgical option that can be used in combination with physical therapy would be bracing the affected area. This often helps to relieve the symptoms of tennis elbow. When nonsurgical treatment is recommended and doesn’t improve the situation after a prolonged period of treatment, surgery will be recommended. This kind of surgery rarely requires an overnight stay at the hospital.
Don’t settle for a life of pain, schedule your appointment with Dr. Hicken. Dr. Hicken has a passion for orthopaedic treatment and helping others. With over 25 years of experience, you can trust that your health is in the best hands. When you schedule your appointment with Dr. Hicken, he’ll work with you to determine the most effective treatment plan for your injury and lifestyle.