Tennis Elbow (Lateral Epicondylitis) (cont.)

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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.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow most often has a complete recovery with conservative measures, particularly by resting the joint and avoiding reinjury.

Is it possible to prevent tennis elbow?

Avoiding strain injury of the elbow joint can prevent tennis elbow. Tennis players can benefit by proper instruction in hitting techniques. Tennis elbow straps can be used to minimize the risk of injury to the elbow tendons.

Exercises that strengthen the involved muscles can be helpful to avoid a reoccurrence once symptoms have disappeared.

REFERENCE:

Klippel, J.H., et al. Primer on the Rheumatic Diseases. New York: Springer, 2008.


Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/18/2014

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