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Tennis Elbow

Overuse of the muscles in your forearm can cause inflammation and tiny tears in the tendons attached to the outside of the elbow. This condition is known as tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis.

What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?

If you have tennis elbow, your symptoms may include:

  • Gradually worsening pain in your elbow
  • Weak or painful grip
  • Pain going from the outside of your elbow, down your arm, and to the wrist when holding objects
  • Pain when you bend your wrist back

What causes tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow gets its name because it’s common in athletes like tennis players. However, there are many causes of the condition, including a traumatic injury from a fall or accident. You may develop tennis elbow from repetitive motions like:

  • Typing
  • Home repair projects like painting or hammering
  • Yard work like raking or gardening
  • Hobbies like weaving or playing an instrument
  • Lifting heavy items

How is tennis elbow treated?

To treat your tennis elbow, your doctor may recommend several non-surgical options. Your treatment options include:

  • Rest and limited arm use
  • Braces or splints
  • Using an ice pack
  • Medications or injections
  • Occupational therapy for stretching and strengthening
  • Pulsed ultrasound to promote healing

Do I need surgery for tennis elbow?

In most cases, you’ll try non-surgical treatment for six to 12 months. If you’re still having symptoms in your elbow and arm, your surgeon may offer surgery.

The procedure for tennis elbow — called lateral epicondyle release surgery — is performed both with open surgery and endoscopic surgery. During traditional surgery, your surgeon will make a 2-inch incision. Endoscopic surgery uses one or two smaller incisions, and your surgeon inserts a camera into an incision to see inside the elbow. Talk to your surgeon about the best option for you.

What are the benefits of endoscopic tennis elbow surgery?

Because endoscopic tennis elbow surgery uses smaller incisions, it typically has benefits when compared to traditional surgery. These may include:

  • Less trauma to your tissue
  • Reduced pain and scarring
  • Quicker healing
  • Lower rate of infection
  • Faster recovery time
  • Usually go home the same day