Commonly referred to as “tennis elbow”, lateral epicondylitis is a condition where the tendons in your elbow swell up, causing intense pain. Usually caused as a result of overuse, it’s not surprising that so many tennis and badminton players suffer from this condition, which is where it got its name from as well.
What is Lateral Epicondylitis?
Causes of Tennis Elbow
Here, the tendons that join your elbows to your forearm muscles suffer from inflammation, as a result of repeating the same movements again and again. This further results in a feeling of tenderness and extreme pain right on the outside of the elbow.
How Common is Tennis Elbow?
Most commonly, tennis elbow is found in people who engage in gripping activities that put a lot of tension on the tendons repeatedly. Especially if you use your thumb along with your first two fingers repeatedly, you are more likely to develop lateral epicondylitis, as there is a greater chance of microscopic tears forming in the tissue. Even though this condition can be seen in people of all ages, it is most common among people who are above the age of 40.
Specialist San Francisco
At Hand and Microsurgery Medical Group, we have treated many patients suffering from lateral epicondylitis. With more than 40 years of combined experience in the field, both Dr. Leonard Gordon and Dr. Joshua Gordon are among the best in the industry. What makes Hand and Microsurgery Medical Group stand out is the genuine effort we take to ensure the comfort of each and every patient that steps inside our Sacramento office.
Symptoms Are Not Limited to Only the Elbow
Even though the name “tennis elbow” suggests that you may feel pain selectively in your elbow, the truth is that you may also feel pain throughout your entire arms. Usually, the pain is concentrated in the bony part of the outside of your elbow, but it can stretch to both your upper and lower arm as well, depending on the intensity of the damage caused.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
If you feel pain in your elbow and/or arms when you lift something, raise your hands, open doors, stretch your hands and wrists, shake other people’s hands, make a fist or when you grip an object, this could be a symptom of lateral epicondylitis. Especially if you use your elbow or hands to grip something regularly, you have a higher chance of developing the condition. For instance, if you play tennis, badminton, fencing, squash, weightlifting, you paint, type on a computer, knit, or do carpentry, then you have a higher chance of suffering from tennis elbow.
You need to be carefully examined, tested and diagnosed by a qualified and experienced doctor who specializes in the field in order to be certain if you are suffering from lateral epicondylitis.
Treating lateral epicondylitis
If your damage is not too serious and the pain is bearable, then surgery may not be needed. You may have to instead wear a brace or a band over the concerned area, or you may be advised to go for physical therapy. Sometimes, anti-inflammatory medications or steroid injections may even be recommended. The treatment really depends upon the severity of the damage and the level of pain.
For extremely intense pain where it is unbearable, or if the damage has not responded well to any other treatment, surgery may be required. Moreover, if your symptoms have been showing and consistent for more than six months, your doctor will most likely advise surgery. During the lateral epicondylitis surgery, the degenerated tendon tissue is removed. It is an outpatient procedure, meaning that you don’t have to stay overnight in the clinic or hospital. After surgery, physical therapy will be required.
Give us a call today and we will be happy to give you detailed information about lateral epicondylitis surgery.