Tennis elbow…Not seen only in athletes

Elbow pain related to lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow is a common condition affecting millions of Americans. Although tennis elbow occurs in athletes playing racket sports and other sports, it is also very common among active individuals not involved in sports. Tennis elbow typically presents as pain localized to the lateral aspect or outside of the elbow associated with use of the hand and upper extremity. The condition usually occurs as a result of repetitive overuse or poor technique in sports. Tennis elbow results from degeneration of the wrist extensor muscle group origin at the elbow.

The cornerstone of treatment of tennis elbow centers on stretching and strengthening of the wrist extensor group. Physical therapy including use of ultrasound and electrical stimulation can be beneficial. Braces or straps designed to decrease stress on the degenerative tendon can also be helpful. Steroid injections in the elbow can be used sparingly for refractory cases of tennis elbow. Outpatient surgery consisting of release and/or removal of degenerative tendon tissue is considered when nonsurgical treatment fails to provide relief of symptoms.

An evaluation by your orthopedic surgeon is necessary to diagnose and treat this common elbow disorder.

Luis M. Espinoza MD Dr. Espinoza served as the AAA Team Doctor for the the New Orleans Zephyrs/BabyCakes since joining the Orthopedic Center for Sports Medicine in 2003. He is double board certified in General Orthopedic Surgery and Sports Medicine.

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