November 27, 2019
Paul Nielsen, MD
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.