TENNIS ELBOW | LATERAL EPICONDYLOSIS

Whether it is aging, bad technique, or repetitive stress, tennis elbow is a very common cause of chronic pain and loss of function. Classically it is commonly seen in tennis players, but it is also an occupational hazard.

Tennis Elbow or Lateral Epicondylosis is a repetitve stress injury to the forearm muscle ligaments at the elbow.

Injuries to muscles, tendons, and ligaments are all too common for those participating in sports and/or other occupations with repetitive stress activities. Tissues with very good blood supply like muscles usually will heal faster from injury than the other components of the musculoskeletal system like tendons and ligaments.

Tennis elbow is often referred to as a ‘tendonitis’, but that is not accurate. The ‘-itis’ refers to inflammation, but tennis elbow is much more often a chronic tendinopathy with microtears and structural weakening of the forearm muscle tendons where they insert onto the humerus bone. It can get better with weeks or months of rest, but return to the same activity, or worse, continued activity will prevent healing and continue the injury process.

There are some measures that might stabilize the elbow and lessen the pain somewhat: ice after activity, elastic supports and/or forearm braces, but they don’t help with repair of the tissues.

Medical intervention might also include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory pills (ibuprofen, naprosyn, for instance), but injectable steroids (i.e. dexamethasone) are not recommended because they actually weaken the tissues and they are strong anti-inflammatories but remember, inflammation is not the primary problem.