The term tennis elbow refers to an injury that occurs when a tennis player executes a backhand stroke that results in excessive strain to the arm and elbow's soft tissue (muscles, ligaments, and tendons). The repeated impact or force of the racket coming into contact with tennis balls produces this painful condition called tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis.
This injury can also happen to non-athletes. How is that possible? Medically speaking, tennis elbow results from micro-tears or inflammation of the elbow joint tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the outer parts of the elbow. Non-athletes like painters, plumbers, and carpenters are just as susceptible to getting tennis elbow as tennis players.
If you think you may be suffering from pain or limited mobility that may require tennis elbow surgery, then consider these symptoms and speak to an orthopedic specialist for a complete diagnosis, imaging, and treatment options.
- Pain, burning, or swelling along the outside of your forearm and elbow
- Pain that spreads or gets worse, even when not participating in racquet sports
- Difficulty twisting or flexing your arm or difficulty gripping and lifting small objects
Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow
The first treatment option for tennis elbow includes modifying your activities and resting the injured elbow. At home, treatments include icing, pain, and/or anti-inflammatory medications. Your primary care doctor may suggest corticosteroid injections into the elbow joint before examining surgery options. It would also be helpful to wear an elbow brace to limit movement and rotation of the arm and elbow.
If symptoms do not subside after 6 to 12 months of non-surgical treatment, then we would recommend you speak with an orthopedic professional that specializes in treating elbow injuries.
Tennis Elbow Surgery
For those who have not gained relief from tennis elbow symptoms from non-surgical treatments will see outpatient surgery as a recommended option. Prime Surgical Suites offers a patient-first experience, and we specialize in treating those with elbow concerns with the primary goal of guiding our patients to a speedy and healthy recovery. The process begins with a diagnostic visit by one of our elite group of orthopedic surgeons. A physical exam, specific tests, and x-rays of the impacted area are typically performed.
If surgery is required, your orthopedic surgeon will discuss the options, which may include:
- Open surgery - A cut above is made on the side of your elbow to remove the damaged piece of tendon and reattach the healthy part back to the bone.
- Arthroscopic surgery - A few tiny cuts are made in the skin over your elbow to allow small instruments and a camera to enter and the damaged parts of your tendon.
After surgery, the opening is closed with stitches or staples, then dressed and covered with a bandage or other dressing. Tennis elbow surgery is typically performed on an out-patient basis, followed by a period of progress visits and a period of rehabilitation that may take from 4 to 6 months to recover fully.
Prime Surgical Suites has built its reputation on providing first-class surgery to treat orthopedic disease or injury, including those that affect the joints of the shoulder, elbow, or wrist. We specialize in outpatient treatments that require no hospital stay. We can accomplish this because our facilities incorporate cutting-edge surgical technology and tools that reduce patient pain, provide a faster recovery period, and result in better patient outcomes.
At Prime Surgical Suites, we provide state-of-the-art, cost-effective musculoskeletal surgical care in a convenient and comfortable outpatient setting for patients of all ages. Located in RiverCrest Medical Park, we are the region's first outpatient center focused exclusively on orthopedics. Our physician-led center will help restore your active lifestyle and well-being with compassion and orthopedic excellence.