Tennis Elbow: Not Just A Problem For Athletes

You don’t have to be a tennis pro—or even play tennis—to develop this condition. This painful condition is commonly known as “Tennis Elbow,” because the repeated swinging motions in tennis (or any similar racquet sport) put great stress on arm muscles and tendons.

You might be living with Tennis Elbow if…

  • You have consistent pain in the lateral part of the forearm, just below the elbow or the wrist.
  • You experience weakness in the forearm or elbow areas.

The pain and weakness associated with Tennis Elbow is usually caused by strain on the extensor tendons. Strain is due to overuse of the tendons in that area.

Sometimes the problem goes deeper than inflammation. Tennis Elbow can also be caused by the compression of a nerve in the forearm.

Getting a diagnosis, then, is important for treatment. Rest and ice will not decompress a compressed nerve; only a specialist can properly determine the problem and, in turn, the best plan of treatment.

At Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas, a hand specialist will determine the cause of lateral forearm pain by means of imaging tests such as X-ray, MRI, and/or EMG.

If your specialist at Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas determines that the pain is stemming from inflammation and overuse of the extensor tendons, there are a few remedies he or she might suggest:

  • Rest: ceasing the repetitive motion that is putting strain on the lateral forearm tendons. At the very least, lessening the intensity or frequency of the movement will be recommended.
  • Physical therapy sessions.
  • Wearing an elbow brace.
  • Extracorporeal shock wave therapy: sending sound waves to the elbow to create a “microtrauma” that promotes the body’s natural healing process.
  • NSAIDs (Non-Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs) like ibuprofen or aspirin.
  • Steroid injections (performed by a hand specialist)

If the problem is due to the compression of a nerve in the forearm, there are a couple of different treatment options that a hand surgeon at Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas in Houston will recommend, as hand surgery would be required.

Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow

Open surgery:

Traditional arm surgery in which the orthopedic specialist makes an incision over the elbow. Open arm surgery takes only a few minutes and it involves the release of the tight forearm fascia (white tissue enveloping the muscle), which is usually contributing to some of the pain. Sometimes there are additional small tears in some of the tendon insertions, and debridement can be done.

Arthroscopic surgery:

A minimally invasive procedure using small incisions. This is an endoscopic no stitch technique, outpatient procedure that requires smaller incisions, which means a quicker recovery time.

PRP or stem cell injection:

Some doctors will inject PRP or stem cells in the area, to promote healing. While that option usually does not cause harm, the long-term benefits of doing so has yet to be established, and currently ongoing research is taking place.

If pain from tennis elbow is holding you back, the hand and wrist surgeons and specialists at Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas will get you back to doing the things you love to do, pain-free. The hand and wrist doctors at Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas are experienced, knowledgeable professionals, there to diagnose and treat your hand and wrist problems.

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The Hand Surgery Specialists of Texas offers diagnosis and treatment for hand, wrist, and elbow problems in Houston, using the most advanced and minimally invasive medical techniques. Our orthopedic hand specialists and hand and finger surgeons are waiting to provide you with excellent care at one of our hand care centers in River Oaks, Clear Lake, North Houston, Katy/Sugarland, or Baytown