What Is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is an inflammation of the tendons in the lower arm that connect muscle to bone. The most common cause of elbow pain, lateral epicondylitis is not limited to tennis players. This type of tendonitis can affect anyone who performs repetitive gripping activities, especially those that involve using the thumb and first two fingers.
Usually, tennis elbow develops gradually over time. Continually tugging on the tendons in the forearm, such as that which occurs while a player grasps a tennis racket during a serve, can strain the tissue and ultimately lead to the development of microscopic tears.
What does tennis elbow feel like?
The most common symptoms of tennis elbow are pain and tenderness in the bony knob on the outside of the elbow joint. The pain may radiate into the upper or lower arm. While the damage is confined to the elbow, the pain usually intensifies when the corresponding hand is used to:
- Lift a heavy object
- Make a fist
- Grip an object
- Open a door
- Shake hands
How is tennis elbow treated?
Oftentimes, lateral epicondylitis will resolve on its own, but the healing process can take up to several months. In the meantime, conservative treatment can be used to manage any discomfort and promote healing. Some options include:
- Applying an ice pack to the affected elbow to reduce pain and swelling
- Wearing an elbow strap to help protect the injured tendon from further strain
- Taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) as needed for pain relief
- Performing range-of-motion exercises to increase flexibility and reduce stiffness
- Performing physical therapy to stretch and strengthen the muscles that support the elbow
- Receiving steroid injections if necessary to relieve severe pain and inflammation
In advanced cases, a surgical procedure may be considered to address symptoms that persist or worsen despite two to four months of conservative treatment. When surgery is appropriate, a surgeon can remove a damaged section of tendon and then repair the remaining tissue.
At Advanced Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine of Houston, Texas, our goal is to help each patient find the least invasive treatment approach that will be effective. To address tennis elbow, we offer a variety of strategies – both conservative and surgical – that can potentially provide symptom relief. If you’d like to consult with one of our experienced elbow pain specialists, contact us. We have several locations throughout Houston, TX, where you can turn for comprehensive advice and treatment.
To request an appointment, please enter the information on the form on the right and press the “Continue” button to start the appointment request process.
1Professional Building II At North Cypress Medical Center
AOSM Physical Therapy
2North Cypress Professional Building At Lakewood Crossing
AOSM Physical Therapy
3North Cypress Professional Building At Towne Lake
4Advanced Orthopaedics Memorial
What Our Patients Are Saying
Dr. Mills is the best doctors I’ve had the pleasure to meet. I had an accident where I sliced open my hand cutting tendons, nerves and who knows what else. I was convinced that I was losing the use of 2 of my fingers. Dr. Mills took my case and had a good conversation with my wife and I addressing…
Dr. Brooks is an amazing doctor who shows genuine concern for the welfare of his patients. He is professional, courteous, friendly, and knowledgeable. He is responsive to patients who are in need of help when they request an office visit. I would highly recommend him to my family and friends.
Dr. Vial is the best doctor I have seen in a long time. It was so easy to make an appointment with him and he took me back on time. They did the necessary x-ray right there in the office. Dr. Vial was so kind, caring, and friendly. He quickly diagnosed me and put me at ease about my injury!…
Dr. Fehsenfeld is one of the best. He talks to me on a regular level, & he performed ACL surgery on my oldest son. My boy recovered back to 100% within no time. I went to see about my shoulder, & I was in/out within an hour. That includes X-ray, diagnosis, talking, and the remedy. Dr. Drew is the most…
I’ve seen Dr. Brooks twice now for both of my shoulders and he has given me injections both times. I’m extremely impressed by his injection skills and I always get relief from them. I highly recommend Dr. Brooks, and his MA is very sweet and caring. They also have X-ray and ultrasound on site, which makes things easier.
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I have been going to Dr. Fehsenfeld for almost 10 years now and he has been nothing but amazing. He always gives his patients the time they need and sits down and talks with them about their injury and different recovery options. He has done both of my knee surgeries and I have had no issues with them and quick…
“This guy is a genius.” Those were the words of my wife after she first saw the scar from my cervical fusion surgery. It’s now 3 weeks after I left the hospital, and everything is looking good. I was impressed with Dr. Cubbage’s straightforwardness about the surgery itself. He explained the surgery to me in easy-to-understand terms, and his staff…
My husband had 2 discs replaced in his neck by Dr. Cubbage. The overall experience was exceptional. Dr. Cubbage was highly professional with a great bedside manner and a gentleness that sets him apart. He answered all of our questions and explained the diagnosis as well as the procedure in a through and understandable way.