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What is Tennis elbow disease?
Tennis elbow is the common name of lateral epicondylitis. It is a type of tendinitis occurring in the elbow. The tendons connecting muscle to bone are weakened, typically because of repetitive use and muscle strain.
As athletes are commonly affected by tendinitis, this form is named after the sport of tennis which involves repetitive use of and stress on the elbow. However, anyone can develop tendinitis through repetitive motions, including people working as painters, carpenters, or chefs, for example. The condition can affect all ages, but it commonly develops in people between the ages of 30 and 50
Symptoms of Tennis elbow
In tennis elbow, swelling and pain occur around the elbow joint where tendons connect to the bone. Pain may also be present in the forearm and wrist. The weakness of the arm and hand is also a common symptom.
Patients may have difficulty lifting things, holding objects, turning doorknobs, or shaking hands. The condition may resolve itself or improve with rest or immobilization of the joint. Physicians typically use X-rays and MRIs to diagnose tennis elbow.
If tennis elbow developed as a result of sports, attention can be paid to proper technique to avoid exacerbating the condition. Similarly, physical or occupational therapists can work with patients who have developed the condition as a result of repetitive strain at work.
In addition to rest and immobilization, tennis elbow can usually be treated with over the counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or naproxen. Corticosteroids are sometimes prescribed to reduce swelling. Ice packs can also alleviate pain and swelling.
Injections of platelet-rich plasma into the affected tendon may be used, as can ultrasonic tenotomy where the damaged tissue is removed from the body. Physical therapy can alleviate symptoms for the more severely injured, and surgery may be prescribed for severe cases.