Tennis Elbow

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

  • Medical Editor: Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP
    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Jerry R. Balentine, DO, FACEP

    Dr. Balentine received his undergraduate degree from McDaniel College in Westminster, Maryland. He attended medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine graduating in1983. He completed his internship at St. Joseph's Hospital in Philadelphia and his Emergency Medicine residency at Lincoln Medical and Mental Health Center in the Bronx, where he served as chief resident.

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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?

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 for the elbow that are guided by therapists can be helpful for persisting pain and inflammation. For tennis elbow that is resistant to these measures, local cortisone injection can be beneficial. Rarely, surgical repair of the injured tendon is considered.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/14/2016

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