Telltale Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

If you’ve had problematic elbow pain for several weeks and it’s not resolving, it’s time to see an orthopedic specialist. Pain is your body’s way of telling you there’s a problem that needs attention. 

Our board-certified orthopedic surgeons, nurse practitioner and physical therapists at Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine in West Memphis, Arkansas, and Collierville, Tennessee, are trained to diagnose and treat your musculoskeletal system conditions. We get to the root of your elbow pain quickly and form a treatment plan. 

You may have a condition commonly called tennis elbow

What is tennis elbow? 

Your upper arm bone, the humerus, has bumpy bones called epicondyles where it attaches to muscles in your forearm at the elbow. If you use your arm extensively in playing a sport or in your work, the muscles can weaken. 

These weak muscles lead to stress on the tendons where they attach to the epicondyle on the outside of your elbow. They may develop tiny tears in them. The damaged tissue leads to painful inflammation; you have tennis elbow, even though you may never have played tennis. 

As you’ve used your elbow muscles and tendons over and over again, one of the muscles may start to develop friction with the lateral epicondyle, that bony bump on the outside of your elbow. 

In addition to a sore tendon, you also can experience too much wear and tear on the muscle that hits the elbow bone; recent research shows that this is also a cause of tennis elbow.  

What are the symptoms of tennis elbow? 

Tennis elbow usually starts gradually. If left untreated, the symptoms worsen over time. Following are common signs of tennis elbow

How did I get tennis elbow? 

Unless you’ve had trauma to your elbow, tennis elbow is an overuse injury. You’ve overstrained your forearm muscles and tendons. 

Aside from playing tennis, you’re also more at risk for tennis elbow if you play other racquet sports. But tennis elbow doesn’t come just from sports. 

Any job in which you use the same arm motions over and over places you at greater risk for tennis elbow than individuals in the broader population. From a chef who uses his arm to chop thousands of vegetables to a logger using a chain saw to cut down a tree, many types of occupations can lead to tennis elbow. Some others are: 

Treatment for tennis elbow

Resting your arm is the first order of business. If you don’t, you’ll worsen the injury. Your 

Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine physician can give you a note excusing you from your work duties while you heal if needed. 

If your pain is severe at the appointment, your doctor can give you a cortisone shot to help get the inflammation under control. He may give you a splint or brace to wear to take pressure off of your arm. 

Once any swelling and the intense pain have subsided, you’re likely to begin physical therapy. Your therapist uses passive modalities like ultrasound, which brings nutrient-rich blood to the site and breaks down any scar tissue. 

Your therapist also instructs you on gentle stretches and exercises that strengthen the muscles in your forearm. 

You may also need to make some lifestyle changes. You may need to wear a brace on your arm when you perform your work. 

Taking breaks from what you do at work and using the stretches and exercises you’ve learned also help. You can also continue the stretches while watching television at home long after you’ve finished physical therapy. 

Call Delta Orthopaedics & Sports Medicine or book an appointment online today for your elbow pain and all of your musculoskeletal health needs. 

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