Tennis elbow is the common name for the elbow condition lateral epicondylitis. It is an overuse injury that causes inflammation of the tendons that attach to the bony prominence on the outside of the elbow. It is a painful condition occurring from repeated muscle contractions in the forearm that leads to inflammation and microtears in the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle. The lateral epicondyle is the bony prominence that is felt on the outside of the elbow and the condition is more common in sports individuals playing tennis.
Patients with tennis elbow experience certain symptoms and they include:
Tennis Elbow is usually caused by overuse of the forearm muscles but may also be caused by direct trauma such as with a fall, car accident, or work injury.
Tennis elbow is commonly seen in tennis players, hence the name, especially when poor technique is used when hitting the ball with a backhand stroke. Other common causes include any activity that requires repetitive motion of the forearm such as:
Your physician will evaluate tennis elbow by,
Your physician will recommend conservative treatment options to treat the tennis elbow symptoms. These may include:
If conservative treatment options fail to resolve the condition and symptoms persist for 6 -12 months, your surgeon may recommend you undergo a surgical procedure to treat Tennis Elbow called lateral epicondyle release surgery. Your surgeon will decide whether to perform your surgery in the traditional manner or endoscopically. Traditional surgery involves up to a 2″ incision in the elbow area, whereas arthroscopic surgery involves one or two smaller incisions and the use of an arthroscope with a camera for viewing internal structures.
The television camera attached to the endoscope displays the image of the joint on a television screen, allowing the surgeon to look throughout the elbow joint at cartilage, ligaments, nerves and bone.
The benefits of endoscopic surgery compared to the alternative, open elbow surgery, include:
Your surgeon will decide which options are best for you depending on your specific circumstances.
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