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Where Does Tennis Elbow Pain Occur?

man suffering from elbow painTennis elbow is a common condition, and although tennis players can get it, so can people who have never picked up a racket. Its symptoms can come on gradually and get worse, often needing medical treatment.

In this blog, orthopedic physicians Dr. Ather Mirza and Dr. Justin Mirza of Mirza Orthopedics explain where tennis elbow pain occurs.

What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow (also known as lateral epicondylitis) is pain and inflammation related to the muscles and tendons on the outside of your forearm. Tendons – which connect muscles to bones – can develop small tears that lead to inflammation and pain. This can also put stress on the rest of your arm.

What are the symptoms and signs of tennis elbow?

Symptoms can include:

  • An ache, burning sensation, or pain on the outside of the elbow
  • Tenderness in this area
  • Difficulty gripping or lifting objects

How is it diagnosed?

Your doctor will talk to you about your symptoms and where they occur, as well as your medical history. You’ll also be asked about any activities you perform that can cause this condition.

He or she will also examine your elbow and may ask you to perform some physical tests involving your arm.

Other tests may also be used to rule out other conditions that can cause elbow pain, such as a compressed nerve and arthritis. These tests may include:

  • X-rays
  • MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) scan
  • EMG (electromyography)

What are the causes?

Despite its name, the vast majority of cases have nothing to do with playing tennis. Racket sports can certainly cause it – particularly if you’re using improper stroke technique – but this injury is more often caused by one of the following:

Activities and overuse

Repetitive motions that weaken a specific forearm muscle can often lead to tennis elbow. The following activities can involve this type of motion:

  • Assembly-line work
  • Painting
  • Carpentry
  • Playing some musical instruments
  • Butchering
  • Lifting too much weight too often at the gym
  • Carrying heavy boxes

Age

You’re more likely to get this condition if you’re between the ages of 30 and 50. You can get it any age, however.

What are the treatment options for tennis elbow?

Non-surgical and surgical treatments are available. Non-surgical treatments are usually tried first, and they’re successful in most cases.

Treatments include:

  • Rest – Avoiding activities that cause pain and possibly wearing a brace can give your arm the rest it may need to heal.
  • NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines) – Medication such as ibuprofen can help reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Physical therapy – Exercises can help strengthen your forearm.
  • Steroid injections – These shots can help relieve inflammation and pain.
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy – Injecting your own blood platelets can help injured tendons heal more quickly.
  • Surgery – Surgery may be recommended if more conservative treatments aren’t effective over time. It can be done using small incisions to remove diseased muscle and reattach healthy muscle back to the bone.

Why Mirza Orthopedics?

Mirza Orthopedics is Long Island’s premier orthopedic hand, wrist, elbow, and shoulder center. Dr. Ather Mirza and Dr. Justin Mirza are both known for their patient-centered care as well as their commitment to orthopedic research that will benefit their patients. They provide the latest treatments, including non-surgical and surgical options for conditions such as tennis elbow and other hand and upper extremity injuries.

If you’re experiencing elbow pain, make an appointment today with Mirza Orthopedics. We’ll accurately diagnose the cause of your pain and recommend the most conservative treatment possible to alleviate your pain and restore your elbow’s function.

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