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Tennis Elbow Treatment Can Improve Comfort As the Injury Heals

Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is an injury to the tendon on the outside of the elbow joint. Usually caused by overuse of forearm, wrist or hand muscles, this painful injury specifically affects the area where the forearm muscles and tendons attach to the outer bony projection (lateral epicondyle) of the elbow. In addition to pain, tennis elbow may cause localized swelling and warmth. Because the interior of the joint is not affected, the elbow typically maintains its full range of motion.

While tennis elbow can be a significant problem for some tennis players, it can affect anyone who performs repetitive arm, elbow, wrist or hand movements, especially while tightly gripping an object. In fact, less than five percent of all diagnoses are related to playing tennis.

How is tennis elbow treated?

In many cases, the most important aspect of tennis elbow treatment is tendon rest. Depending on the severity of the damage, a full recovery can take up to two years. In the meantime, conservative treatment can promote healing. Some potentially effective options include:

  • A forearm brace or splint
  • Physical therapy
  • Ice applications
  • Over-the-counter pain relievers
  • Topical anti-inflammatory gels
  • Topical cortisone gels
  • Cortisone injections

Tennis elbow often responds well to nonsurgical treatment. However, the pain may continue to worsen, sometimes spreading down the forearm to the wrist and making simple tasks such as turning a key difficult or impossible. In these situations, surgical treatment may be considered to remove damaged tissue and stimulate healing.

At Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, TX, we provide a full range of treatment options for tennis elbow, including conservative therapies as well as open surgery and arthroscopy. Our specialists can assess your injury and develop an individualized treatment plan for you.

To learn more, contact Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, Texas, today.