Tennis elbow is a common disorder of the tendons attached to the outside of the elbow. The condition begins with small tears or scar tissue developing under the tendons, with wear-and- tear of the elbow joint or irritation and inflammation of nerves in the elbow region. These tendons degenerate with repeated stress or overuse, resulting in painful tendinitis.
Frequently occurring between age 30 and 50, tennis elbow is linked to requent twisting movements of the hand, wrist and forearm. However, the condition is not exclusive to players of racquet sports. Other known causes include everyday motions such as using a screwdriver or digging in a garden as well as direct blows to the area.
The most common symptom is discomfort in the outer region of the elbow. The affected area may be tender to the touch or become significantly painful during gripping, twisting or lifting motions. Pain can range from mild to severe and can radiate up to the forearm, though there is usually no outward sign of redness or swelling.
Tennis elbow is most often diagnosed during a physical exam and assessment of your daily activities and medical history. We may use imaging tests to diagnose a potential bone problem.
Typically, we begin treatment with conservative rehabilitation techniques. There is also a promising new, non-invasive treatment called Sonocur which uses sound waves to allow the tendons to heal. Surgical treatment is sometimes necessary if symptoms cannot be eliminated by other means or if the condtion has been present for over a year. The procedure involves releasing the tendon, removing the damaged tissue and reattaching the tendon to the bone.