What are the basic things one need to know about tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is a condition in which small group of people who are engaged in playing tennis have been found to have a common problem with their elbow. So the condition got the name tennis elbow. An orthopedic elbow specialist may call it by the technical name epiconylitis. This a common injury which often gets healed by minor treatments and giving proper rest to your arm.

Interesting facts about tennis elbow

Pain in tennis elbow is often focussed on the arm’s outside at the meeting place of the forearm and the elbow. It is often related to the tendons or muscles of your forearm.  The muscles are connected to the bones with the help of tendons.  By using the arms constantly in  a repetitive motion the tendons connected to the carpi radialis brevis may develop tears. These tears lead to inflammation and stress on the other part of your arm. If left untreated it can become chronic.  About 3 % of the population between age 30 and 50 are affected by tennis elbow. Out of this only 5% is linked to tennis elbow.

Any activity that causes strain to muscles can result in the formation of tennis elbow. Similar to this there is another condition known as golfer’s elbow which is common among golf players.

Similarly people who work as carpenters, masons, painters, dentists, plumbers etc are likely to have tennis elbow because of the repetitive nature of the work they are engaged in.

When to see an orthopedic doctor?

Main symptom of tennis elbow is the pain felt at your elbow’s outer side which may extend into your wrist and forearm. One who has tennis elbow may feel the pain while holding a pen or while not holding anything at all.

As a first step the patient has to ascertain himself whether the pain noticed was due to the condition known as tennis elbow or not.  If it is confirmed you will have to take rest or apply ice over the elbow in the affected part. Over the counter pain medications can also be tried out. If no relief is obtained even after one or two weeks of these self medications then it is time to meet the orthopedic surgeon. If any of the below mentioned symptoms are noticed, then also it is better to consult your health care provider and act according to his advice.

  • Moving your arm is very difficult
  • There is a lump or bulge in the arm
  • Pain makes it impossible to carry out even your daily necessities.
  • Your elbow area is reddish or swollen

What to expect from the Doctor

The doctor will physically examine you and ask you several questions to assert that the reason for the pain is tennis elbow itself. During the examination the doctor will feel different parts of the patient’s body to check whether you are feeling pain or not. Doctor may move your fingers, wrist and arms in different directions and in different manners.


This is a diagnostic test used for understanding whether the nerves have any problem and to check the speed with which they are sending signals. It is also useful in measuring the electrical activity of your muscles when they are at rest and when they are active.

MRI: MRI scanning can identify problems, if any, in your back that can lead to the pain noticed in your elbow.

X-Ray: This can be used to check the existence of arthritis in your elbow.

Treatment options

R.I.C.E is the principle for treating tennis elbow followed by an orthopedist before resorting to elbow surgery Woodbridge VA.. R stands for rest, I stands for ice and C stands for compression and e stands for elevation. This principle may sound simple yet complicated. But this strategy has to be completely implemented for recovering fully from the injury and pain causing the tennis elbow.

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