What is Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis)?
Lateral Epicondylitis is also called tennis elbow and is a painful condition caused by overuse. The repetitive motion of the forearm muscles and tendons can cause small tears in the tendons which surround the elbow area. These “micro-tears” cause inflammation and can lead to tenderness and pain felt on the outer side of the elbow. Tennis players are not the only individuals who can suffer from lateral epicondylitis. Plumbers, painters, butchers, and gardeners who all have the same repetitive arm motions can also have tennis elbow. An accident can also cause a tendon injury that does not heal and can make an individual more likely to develop lateral epicondylitis. Through our state-of-the-art telemedicine platform, the experts at BICMD can diagnose and offer the best treatment options for your lateral epicondylitis.
What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?
The symptoms of lateral epicondylitis include pain and tenderness on the outside of the elbow. Symptoms associated with tennis elbow are:
- Tenderness and pain on the outside of the elbow
- Pain when gripping an object
- Pain when making a fist
- Persistent ache, centered on the outside of the elbow joint
- In some cases, pain that disrupts sleep
How is lateral epicondylitis diagnosed?
Through our telemedicine platform, our experts can diagnose lateral epicondylitis and can offer the best options for treatment. During a telehealth visit, the doctor will go over your medical history which will include the types of activities that caused your elbow pain. You will be asked to move your arm and elbow in different directions and to apply pressure to the arm and elbow. A few simple tests by our experts can help determine the severity of your tennis elbow.
When should I seek a second opinion for my tennis elbow?
Patients should seek a second opinion or consultation with one of our telemedicine experts at BICMD if they are experiencing the following with their lateral epicondylitis:
- Pain or weakness when grasping items such as a pen or tennis racket
- Difficulty carrying a purse or briefcase
- Inability to shake hands without pain
- Pain when turning a knob
- Difficulty holding a coffee cup
- Inability to pick something up with the palm facing downward
What is the treatment for tennis elbow?
Most patients who are diagnosed with lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow can be treated non-surgically with conservative methods. Depending on the severity, we may recommend one or more of the following:
- RICE – Rest, Ice, Compression and Elevation to help relieve the symptoms of tennis elbow
- NSAIDs – Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
- Arm Brace – A specialized brace that protects the tendons and muscles
- Physical therapy – Specific and specialized exercises can help alleviate symptoms
- Corticosteroid injections
- PRP – Platelet Rich Plasma
Lateral epicondylitis that is left untreated can cause long-term affects and may require surgery. A torn tendon in the arm can be repaired through arthroscopic surgery which is a minimally invasive technique.
Arthroscopic repair involves small incisions with small, specialized instruments and a camera called an arthroscope. This specialized repair offers less chance of infection, shorter recovery times and smaller incisions.
For more information lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow, or if you would like to receive an expert consultation about your hand and wrist pain, please contact our specialists, by clicking on “Connect With a Doctor.” You will be connected to one of our orthopedic telemedicine experts through our state-of-the-art telemedicine platform.