Tennis elbow, sometimes known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition that occurs with overuse of the hand and arm muscles. Over time, this can cause injury to the muscle and tendons on the outside of the elbow. The condition affects tendons that work with bone on the outside of the elbow and with the muscle that manages wrist movement. The condition weakens the tendon’s attachment on the muscle and results in stress to the entire region.
With tennis elbow, using the muscle and tendons will result in extreme pain. It can arise from a number of physical activities in addition to tennis. It is most common in adults between 30 and 50 years of age. The causes of this condition includes trauma, deterioration of the tendon, overuse of muscles and tendons, and repetitive motion.
The main symptom of tennis elbow include pain on the outside of the elbow. Patients may experience tenderness around the area. Any activity that places stress on the tendon can lead to painful results. Symptoms can develop gradually. For most patients, the pain can be mild and increase in severity over a period of weeks and months. The symptoms are not typically associated with external injuries, which can influence patients to delay treatment. The pain can be evident on the outer part of the elbow. In addition, individuals may notice that their grip strength has weakened.
To minimize symptoms and prepare for treatment, refrain from participating in any activity involving heavy use of the forearms. This includes playing tennis, using screwdrivers or wrenches, or shaking hands.
While surgery is not the first choice for treating tennis elbow, it can be considered when non-surgical options have failed. Dr. Heller is among the best surgeons for tennis elbow in the Lancaster, Valencia, and Long Beach areas. During surgery, a part of the affected tendon will be removed through incision or arthroscopic surgery. This alleviates the condition and allows for recovery. The treatment is most often an outpatient procedure.