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What Are The Common Symptoms and Treatment for Tennis Elbow

What Are The Common Symptoms and Treatment for Tennis Elbow
What Are The Common Symptoms and Treatment for Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow, medically known as lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition that occurs when the tendons in the elbow are overworked or overloaded. This usually happens due to repetitive motions of the wrist and arm. Contrary to its name, tennis elbow is not exclusive to tennis players - it can affect people from different walks of life who engage in repetitive wrist and arm movements.

Read the blog below to discover the common symptoms and treatments for tennis elbow. By understanding the underlying causes, recognizing the early signs and exploring the available therapeutic options, you can take control of your condition and restore your quality of life.

Common Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

It is crucial to address tennis elbow at its early stages. Early diagnosis and treatment can speed up healing, prevent long-term damage and stop the discomfort from escalating into a more debilitating condition. To do this, identifying its symptoms is crucial.

Keep an eye out for the following indicators:

  • Pain and Tenderness

    Tennis elbow typically causes pain and tenderness around the elbow joint, particularly on the outer side of the elbow. Initially, the pain is mild, but it can gradually increase with prolonged use and strain of the affected tendon. The pain can intensify when grasping objects, lifting items or performing repetitive tasks that require forearm and elbow movement.

  • Stiffness

    Tennis elbow often causes stiffness in the forearm or elbow joint, leading to a limited range of motion. This can make everyday activities such as gripping a cup or turning a doorknob challenging to perform.

  • Weakness

    As the condition advances, you may experience weakness in your forearm muscles. This can lead to difficulty in gripping objects, causing you to drop items more frequently or be unable to maintain a firm hold. This weakness can also place pressure on the already-injured tendons, worsening the existing symptoms and delaying the healing process.

  • Numbness and Tingling

    Individuals suffering from tennis elbow may experience numbness and tingling in their forearm, hand or fingers. This is due to inflammation of the tendons, which can compress or irritate the nearby nerves. Although not as prevalent as pain and tenderness, it is still crucial to consider numbness and tingling as symptoms when evaluating the possibility of this health concern. If you're experiencing any of the above-mentioned symptoms, especially when engaging in activities that involve repetitive motions of your forearm and elbow, it's essential to seek a proper diagnosis and appropriate treatment to avoid further injury and promote healing.

How Tennis Elbow Is Diagnosed

Accurate diagnosis of this condition is essential for proper treatment and recovery. There are several approaches that healthcare professionals use to diagnose tennis elbow, which include:

  • Physical Examination

    Your doctor will examine your affected arm to check for signs of inflammation, pain, or tenderness around the lateral epicondyle. They may also perform several tests to assess your range of motion, grip strength and pain levels when performing specific movements that may worsen your condition, such as extending your fingers or wrist against resistance.

  • Imaging Studies

    Your doctor may suggest medical imaging to examine your elbow and rule out other possible conditions with similar symptoms. An X-ray can determine if there are any fractures or arthritis. An MRI or ultrasound can show more details about the tendons, muscles and soft tissues. These imaging tests help to confirm the presence of inflammation or tears in the tendons and can also show signs of other issues, such as fluid buildup or cysts.

Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow

Treatment options for tennis elbow are available and include a range of approaches, from self-care measures to more targeted approaches like physical therapy. We explore each in detail below:

  • Self-Care Measures

    One of the first steps in treating tennis elbow is often self-care measures, which can help reduce inflammation and relieve pain. Self-care measures include:

    • Rest: Give your arm sufficient rest for proper healing and avoid overexerting the injured area.
    • Ice: Applying ice wrapped in a towel or cloth to the affected area for 10-20 minutes at a time can help to reduce swelling and alleviate pain.
    • Over-the-counter pain relief: Over-the-counter medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen can help relieve pain and reduce inflammation.
    • Exercise and stretching: Gently stretching the forearm and wrist muscles and performing low-impact exercises for the upper arm can help improve flexibility and prevent further injury.
  • Physical Therapy

    Working with a physical therapist can help improve your condition through targeted exercises, stretching, and support. A physical therapist will customize a treatment plan based on your specific needs and objectives. The goal is to strengthen the forearm muscles, increase flexibility in the wrist and arm, and restore normal function.

  • Bracing or Taping

    If you're experiencing pain from a strain on your tendon, a brace or sports tape can help support and reduce stress on the affected area. The brace or strap should be placed around your forearm, below the elbow, to distribute force and minimize tension on the tendon. Using the brace or tape while performing activities that might worsen the symptoms is essential. However, you should always follow your healthcare provider's advice.

  • Corticosteroid Injections

    If self-care measures and physical therapy fail to provide sufficient relief, your healthcare provider may suggest corticosteroid injections. These injections are intended to reduce inflammation and temporarily alleviate pain. It is important to note that while corticosteroid injections can provide immediate relief, they may not provide long-term healing or prevent the recurrence of tennis elbow in the future.

  • Surgery

    Surgery may be considered in severe cases where conservative treatments have not provided satisfactory relief. Surgical options usually involve removing damaged tissue from the affected tendon or releasing the tendon to reduce pressure. Surgery is typically viewed as a last resort, and the majority of patients with tennis elbow do not require surgical intervention.

The Path to Recovery: Put an End to Tennis Elbow Discomfort

Tennis elbow is a painful condition that can significantly affect your daily life and hamper your ability to enjoy your favorite activities. It is crucial to seek prompt, accurate diagnosis and proper treatment to prevent long-term damage and potential complications.

Fortunately, there is a promising solution for this condition. At Chicago Stem Cell Therapy & Regenerative Medicine, we have an experienced team of professionals who offer innovative treatment options for tennis elbow. Our cutting-edge techniques and stem cell therapy provide non-invasive and effective treatment plans customized to your needs.

Take charge of your health and get back to living pain-free. Contact us today to schedule a consultation.

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