ELBOW TENDONITIS (TENNIS ELBOW)

ELBOW TENDONITIS (TENNIS ELBOW)

Paul Nielsen, MD
Orthopaedic SurgeonELBOW TENDONITIS (TENNIS ELBOW)

December 16, 2019

What Are the Symptoms of Tennis Elbow?

  • Pain at the outside part of the elbow
  • Lifting and gripping often causes pain in the elbow
  • Pain can start suddenly or slowly build up
    • The symptoms often last for months and can slowly worsen

What Causes Tennis Elbow?

  • Overuse leads to damage in a tendon where it attaches at the outside of the elbow
    • Although the condition is named tennis elbow, most patients develop it with other activities
  • Your body’s normal healing process fails to repair the damage within the tendon
    • This particular tendon does not get very much blood flow to promote healing
  • The damaged tendon helps bend your wrist back, making lifting or gripping painful

What Are the Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow?

  • Activity modification (taking it easy) to allow the tendon to heal
  • Therapy to decrease inflammation, stretch, and then strengthen the tendon
  • Braces worn when active
  • NSAIDs such as ibuprofen, naproxen, or meloxicam can decrease pain
  • Steroid injections (cortisone) can reduce the symptoms
  • Surgery is considered if nonoperative options no longer control symptoms
    • The surgery involves cleaning out the damaged part of the tendon and repairing the healthy tendon back to its attachment on the bone
    • Surgery is a same-day outpatient procedure

What Is Recovery Like After Surgery?

  • Patients are in a splint holding the elbow still for the first two weeks after surgery
    • A removable wrist splint is then used until 6 weeks after surgery
  • Exercises to move the elbow and wrist are performed until 6 weeks after surgery
    • Strengthening is then started and continues
  • Most patients get good pain relief and improved arm function

Recognize the symptoms of tennis elbow? Call 308-865-2570 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Nielsen today. No referral required.

About the Author
Paul Nielsen, MD is an orthopedic surgeon specializing in hand & upper extremity surgery at New West Sports Medicine & Orthopaedic Surgery in Kearney, NE.