Tennis Elbow Pain Management in Knoxville, TNLateral Epicondylitis, commonly known as “tennis elbow”, is a type of tendonitis – an inflammation of a tendon. This condition causes pain in the elbow and restricts activities that involve moving the forearm and the wrist. Unfortunately, despite its name, you don’t have to be a tennis player in order to experience this painful condition. According to a 2015 study published in the American Journal of Sports Medicine, an estimated 1 million Americans develop tennis elbow each year. In this article, we will discuss what causes this disorder, how it is diagnosed, and what treatment options are available for those suffering from tennis elbow pain in Knoxville.
What is tennis elbow?The elbow joint attaches the two forearm bones to the upper arm bone. Keeping the joint in place are the muscles, ligaments, and tendons. Tendons are strong fibrous cords that connect the muscles to the bones. Tennis elbow is an inflammation of one of the tendons on the outer side of the elbow which is tied to a forearm muscle that helps raise or extend the wrist.
What causes tennis elbow?Tennis elbow is thought to result from overuse of the tendon by repetitive motions of the wrist. The recurring stress creates microtears in the tendon, leading to irritation and inflammation. It can be triggered by any of the following activities:
- Any racquet sport, including tennis
- Chopping tough food, especially meat
- Manual work, such as bricklaying or plumbing
How common is tennis elbow?According to a 2006 review published in the British Medical Journal, 1-3% of the general population experience tennis elbow. If you have a job that involves repetitive wrist action, the risk of developing the condition increases to 15%. Adults between 35 and 55 years old are the most affected age group, with no significant differences between men and women.
SymptomsThe main symptoms of tennis elbow are pain and a burning sensation on the outside of the elbow where the affected tendon is located. The pain usually starts off mild, becoming more severe over a course of weeks or months. It can sometimes radiate to the forearm or the wrist and is exacerbated by grasping or twisting wrist movements, such as turning a screwdriver, opening a jar, or shaking hands. Other symptoms may include tenderness in the elbow area and difficulty gripping or lifting objects.
DiagnosisMost cases of tennis elbow can be diagnosed by taking the patient’s medical history and performing a physical exam. To gain a better understanding of the medical complaint, the doctor will ask the patient about their daily activities, the duration and severity of the symptoms, their job and hobbies, and any history of similar injuries. During a physical examination, the doctor will apply pressure on the wrist, hand, and fingers in the affected arm to trigger the painful sensation. There are specific tests that can confirm tennis elbow diagnosis if the pain is reproduced:
- The chair lift test requires the patient to try and lift a chair with their arms straight
- Cozen’s test involves the doctor pressing against the patient’s fist while holding their elbow
- Mill’s test consists of the doctor gradually extending the patient’s arm with the wrist fully flexed
How to treat tennis elbow?Tennis elbow gets better on its own but it can take between 6 months and 2 years, with 90% of the patients recovering within a year. In the meantime, there is a number of treatment options that can help manage the pain and facilitate recovery:
- Rest – it is important to take a break from the activities that aggravate the symptoms
- Painkillers – over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help alleviate the pain and swelling
- Physical therapy – specific exercises can help strengthen and stretch the muscles in the forearm
- Ultrasound therapy – high-frequency sound waves are transmitted into the arm tissues to reduce inflammation
- Brace – wearing a support on the forearm can help reduce the pressure on the tendon
- Steroid injections – a combination of corticosteroid and anesthetic medications is injected directly into the affected area to reduce inflammation and provide pain relief
- Platelet rich plasma (PRP) injections – an injection of concentrated healing proteins from the patient’s own plasma into the injury site helps speed up recovery.
ConclusionTennis elbow is the most common cause of elbow pain and dysfunction, resulting from the overuse of the tendon responsible for extending and raising the wrist. It most frequently affects middle-aged adults, whose occupations or hobbies involve repetitive wrist motion. Although most people fully recover from the condition, it may take many months for the symptoms to go away completely. During these months, the patients might be unable to participate in the activities that aggravate the condition, such as sports or their job. There are many treatment options that can help control the symptoms and facilitate recovery. If you have elbow pain that affects your daily activities, contacting a doctor is the first step to getting a proper diagnosis and developing a pain management plan that suits your needs.
Tennis elbow treatment in Knoxville, TNIf you’re in pain from an injury or chronic condition, it’s important to have a competent team of tennis elbow specialists in Knoxville TN managing your care. Early detection and treatment can help you create a plan of recovery that’s right for you, and get you back to feeling like yourself. Pain doesn’t have to be disabling, but in order to get relief, you need to seek treatment. Omega Pain Management can help you take control of your health and plot a course of recovery. If you’re looking for pain clinic in Knoxville, Tennessee to get your tennis elbow under control, give us a call. Phone (865) 337-5137 and book an appointment with Dr. Igor Smelyansky.
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Sanders TL Jr, Maradit Kremers H, Bryan AJ, Ransom JE, Smith J, Morrey BF. The epidemiology and health care burden of tennis elbow: a population-based study. Am J Sports Med. 2015 May;43(5):1066-71. doi: 10.1177/0363546514568087. Epub 2015 Feb 5. PMID: 25656546; PMCID: PMC4517446.