Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) (cont.)

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What are tennis elbow risk factors?

Risks of tennis elbow include any activity that can strain the elbow joint. Such activities include tennis, falling onto the extended upper extremity, using a screwdriver when unaccustomed, casting a fishing net, etc.

What are symptoms of tennis elbow?

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Symptoms of tennis elbow include dull pain and tenderness at the outer elbow. There can be elbow stiffness and a sensation of weakness. Typically with tennis elbow, people retain the full range of motion of the elbow and there is no significant swelling or discoloration. Holding a beverage cup or shaking hands can bring on the pain.

How do physicians diagnose tennis elbow?

Physicians diagnose tennis elbow based on the history of outer elbow pain and tenderness often with recent repetitive-use injury. Tenderness at the outer elbow with normal range of motion of the elbow joint assures the diagnosis. Generally, no radiology testing is necessary. MRI scanning can illustrate inflammation of the outer elbow.

What is the treatment for tennis elbow?

Resting the elbow and employing measures to reduce the local inflammation are effective treatments for tennis elbow. Cold application several times daily and anti-inflammatory medications (such as ibuprofen [Advil] or naproxen [Aleve]) can be helpful. Physical therapy and rehabilitation exercises can be helpful for persisting pain and inflammation. For tennis elbow that is resistant to these measures, local cortisone injection can be beneficial.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/18/2014

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