That burning pain in your forearm and weakened grip strength could be related to tennis elbow — even if you’ve never picked up a racquet. The team at North Point Orthopaedics in Munster and Crown Point, Indiana, provides the most advanced diagnostic services and treatments available for tennis elbow. They can also develop a strategy to prevent future injury. Schedule an evaluation today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.

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What is tennis elbow?

Also called lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow is a painful and often chronic condition caused by inflammation of the tendons that bend your wrist backward away from the palm and join your forearm muscles to the outer elbow.

What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow symptoms usually affect the dominant arm but can occur in both, and tend to start gradually and worsen over time. You may experience aching or burning pain along the outer forearm and elbow that can spread into your wrist. The discomfort can occur at rest and may worsen with activities such as lifting a coffee cup, shaking hands, or turning a doorknob. Pain with even gentle pressure at the outer elbow and weakened grip strength are also classic symptoms of tennis elbow.

What causes tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is related to repetitive contraction of the forearm muscles along with extension and flexion of the wrist that may occur during:

  • Tennis and other racquet sports
  • Typing or frequent use of a computer mouse
  • Painting with a brush or roller
  • Playing the violin or other musical instruments
  • Golf
  • Use of drills, saws, and other hand tools
  • Frequent use of scissors or gardening shears

Chefs and butchers who spend significant time chopping or preparing foods are also at increased risk of developing tennis elbow. Notably, if you play tennis, factors that contribute to tennis elbow include poor technique during backhand strokes, weakened shoulder muscles, or an inappropriately sized racquet.

How do you diagnose and treat tennis elbow?

Your North Point Orthopaedics specialist may suspect tennis elbow after carefully reviewing your symptoms and sports or work history and after performing a physical exam. Your evaluation may also include X-ray or other imaging studies to rule out additional problems. Tennis elbow generally responds well to conservative measures, such as:

  • Oral anti-inflammatory medications
  • Physical therapy to stretch and strengthen forearm muscles
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections
  • Use of a brace or wrap to reduce forearm strain

If your symptoms are related to tennis or another sport, you may benefit from a sports medicine evaluation and retraining regarding your equipment and technique. For symptoms that persist or worsen despite conservative measures, your provider may recommend minimally invasive surgery to repair damaged tissue. Schedule an evaluation at North Point Orthopaedics today by calling the office or requesting an appointment online.