Tennis elbow occurs when the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB) tendon becomes inflamed. The medical term for “tennis elbow” is Lateral Epicondylitis, because the Lateral Epicondyle tendon is what secures the ECRB to the elbow joint. The ECRB tendon attaches your forearm muscles to the joint. Those muscles reach all the way down your arm to your wrist and fingers. Overuse of the tendon, which is often attributable to racquet sports, can create pain and tenderness.
Who gets tennis elbow?
Despite its name, tennis players are not the only people who get tennis elbow. People whose work or recreational activities require repetitive and vigorous use of the forearm are prone to the condition too. Painters, plumbers, carpenters, auto workers, cooks and even butchers get it more often than the rest of the population.
Symptoms of tennis elbow
In most cases, tennis elbow develops gradually. The symptoms include a weakening grip, a lack of arm strength, and pain or a burning sensation in the outer part of your elbow. The symptoms worsen when you attempt to use your forearm. Even extending your arm for a handshake can be painful.
Your doctor can usually diagnose tennis elbow with a thorough medical exam and a variety of tests that may include X-rays, an MRI scan or an Electromyography (EMG). The tests will help him or her pinpoint the origin of your elbow pain.
Treatment for tennis elbow
The majority of patients respond well to non-surgical treatment. Treatment includes resting your arm, using non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, and physical therapy. Using a brace, having steroid injections, and extracorporeal shock wave therapy may be added to your healing regimen. You should see results within six to twelve months. If your condition does not improve by then, your physician may consider surgery to remove diseased muscle and reattach healthy muscle to the bone.