Tennis Elbow Treatment in Dallas
Tennis elbow, also called lateral epicondylitis and elbow tendonitis, is one of the most common variations of tendonitis. This is a painful condition which is recognized as an inflammation of the tendons. These tendons join the muscles of your forearm on the outside of your elbow joint. Athletes and other highly active people struggle with the symptoms of this painful condition, and often require continuous treatment.
Treating tennis elbow requires an in-depth understanding of the tendons, muscles, and ligaments in your arm, as well as skill in physical therapy. At SPORT, we pride ourselves on possessing the necessary knowledge and specialized skill to help you get back to your active lifestyle. We serve patients in the Dallas area, and treat all sorts of conditions, like sprained knees, labrum tears, knock knees, and much more. For a personalized treatment plan for your tennis elbow, call 469-200-2832 and schedule an appointment with us.
What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is the inflammation and damage of the tendons in the elbow. In general, it results from overuse of these tendons. For tennis elbow specifically, the outer side of the elbow joint is affected and inflamed. This condition is common in athletes or active individuals who participate in tennis, weightlifting, and other sports that involve rackets or repetitive arm motions. However, it is not always a result of playing sports. Some workers, like gardeners, plumbers, or painters may also experience this condition.
What Does Tennis Elbow Feel Like?
Oftentimes, tendonitis results in pain or tenderness around the affected area. It is most common in the shoulders, elbows, knees, heels, and wrists. However, it can affect any tendons in the body. While most cases resolve with adequate rest, pain medications, or physical therapy, severe cases lead to tendonitis surgery. Care providers usually recommend surgery if you experience a ruptured tendon. Below, we list common symptoms of tennis elbow.
- Pain, usually described by patients as a dull ache. It is especially prevalent while moving the elbow. It may also feel like burning.
- Stiffness in the morning
- Muscle weakness
- In extreme cases, pain while not moving the arm
How to Treat Tennis Elbow?
Your doctor, in order to diagnose your lateral epicondylitis, will apply physical pressure to the area. They will also likely ask you to move the affected elbow, as well as the corresponding wrist and fingers. Most of the time, this examination, along with your medical history, is enough to diagnose the problem. In some cases, your doctor will want to rule out other causes, and may recommend an X-ray or other imaging test.
After your diagnosis, your treatment will begin. While this condition often improves with time, at home treatments, and pain medications, that is not always the case. When at-home treatments don’t work, the next step is usually physical therapy. In severe cases, your doctor might recommend surgery.
Before proceeding with physical therapy or surgery, your doctor will likely recommend the following self-care measures.
- Rest is imperative to recovery. Avoid any and all activities which exacerbate the pain further.
- Pain medications, including ibuprofen and naproxen, help to ease your pain while you focus on recovery.
- Ice packs, applied to the area for 15 minutes at a time, help to relieve pain and reduce swelling.
- Technique adjustments are a good idea for treating your pain and preventing future damage. Speak with an expert on how to adjust your daily motions and techniques.
Sometimes, lateral epicondylitis is a result of one’s tennis technique or the movements from your job tasks.. One suggestion is having an expert take a look at your form. This expert will observe your movements and determine how to adapt your form to produce less stress on the affected area. Experienced Dallas physical therapists will teach you at-home exercises to strengthen and stretch the muscles of the affected area. This will increase your strength and reduce the stress on the injured area.
A series of plasma, Botox, or other irritants may be injected into the affected tendon. Dry needling, in which your doctor uses a needle to pierce the tendon in several places without injecting anything, is also helpful. If your doctor determines that a TENEX procedure is the best course of action, they will use ultrasound guidance to insert a needle into the tendon. Ultrasonic energy causes the needle to vibrate at extreme speeds, which essentially liquefies the damaged tissue. The liquefied tissue is then suctioned out of the area.
If your case is severe, or if none of the above remedies work to relieve your pain after 6-12 months, your doctor may recommend surgery. This surgery serves to remove the damaged tissue entirely. Surgeries of this nature are performed either through a large incision or multiple smaller incisions. After your surgery, it is crucial that you utilize rehabilitation exercises to foster the recovery process.
What Causes Tennis Elbow?
In most cases, patients experience tennis elbow after overusing the forearm. This overuse often results from repetitive motions or strenuous activities. Sometimes, patients experience pain after banging their elbow into something hard. After straining the muscles in the forearm, patients often experience inflammation around the outside of the elbow, also called the lateral epicondyle. People also experience tennis elbow after performing an activity their body is not used to, such as gardening. However, even those who do certain activities regularly can still develop tennis elbow.
Some activities are more likely than others to result in tennis elbow. These activities usually involve repeatedly bending the elbow, twisting the wrist, or using the forearm muscles. Below, we list some of the activities that result in tennis elbow.
- Racket sports such as tennis or badminton. Also throwing sports, like javelin or hammer throw.
- Using certain hand tools repeatedly, like screwdrivers, scissors, or shears.
- Using common tools for plumbing, bricklaying, or decorating.
- Typing, sewing, or other activities involving repetitive wrist motions.
- Violin, cello, or other instrument-playing that involves repeated elbow bending.
While many of these activities contribute to the development of tennis elbow, it is not a guarantee. Despite lateral epicondylitis’s common name of “tennis elbow,” only around 5 in every 100 people develop this condition from racket sports.
How Long Does Tennis Elbow Last?
In most cases, tennis elbow improves without treatment. Between 6 months and 2 years, the majority of those with tennis elbow experience a full recovery. This depends largely on the severity of the damage. Limiting the use of your injured arm and stopping the activity that caused the problem is a must. Using anti-inflammatory medications as tablets, creams, or gels will also help with your recovery.
How to Wear a Tennis Elbow Brace?
In some cases, your doctor will recommend a brace for your elbow. It is extremely important that you understand how to wear this brace. Your doctor will walk you through how to put it on, and when it needs to be worn.
- First, find the painful area.
- Then, slide the brace up to one thumbs’ width below the painful area.
- Next, wear the brace snugly, as it serves to apply pressure to the affected area. If you experienced numbness or tingling in your hands, loosen the brace a bit.
- Wear the brace throughout the day as you perform your regular activities. Be mindful of any improvements in your pain.
Call Today to Schedule Your Appointment For Tennis Elbow
Depending on the severity of your lateral epicondylitis, our orthopedic specialists at SPORT will personalize your treatment plan. From exercise recommendations to physical therapy to surgery, we have endless options to help you. To start your recovery journey, give us a call at 469-200-2832 or fill out our online intake form. We’re here to listen to your needs and get you the best help in Texas.