Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is due to small tears in a tendon at its attachment to the bone on the outer side of the elbow. It often starts after repetitive excessive activity such as gardening or racquet sports. Where symptoms occur over the inner aspect of the elbow it is referred to as medial epicondylitis or golfer’s elbow.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
The principle symptom is of pain and tenderness over the outer aspect of the elbow, which may radiate to the forearm and is often exacerbated by lifting an object with the elbow fully straight or simple actions such as shaking hands or turning a door handle. An ultrasound or an MRI scan may be helpful in confirming the diagnosis.
Treatment of Tennis Elbow
Symptoms of tennis elbow may last weeks or many months. Modification of activities and rest to avoid the exacerbation of symptoms is often very helpful, as is the application of a cold compress or a forearm brace. A wide range of other treatments may be recommended including anti-inflammatory medication, both topically applied and taken by mouth, simple analgesia, physiotherapy and injection therapy with steroid or PRP (plasma-rich protein). Surgery may be considered if conservative measures fail.