Tennis Elbow Specialist in Dallas, Texas

What is Tennis Elbow?

Inflammation of the tendons that attach the muscles of the forearm to the outside of the elbow is called Tennis Elbow. The long bone in the upper arm known as the humerus articulates with two bones in the forearm known as the radius and ulna. Several ligaments form a joint capsule at the elbow connecting these bones to each other. Tendons attach the extensor muscles of the forearm to the arm bones to produce movement. The lateral epicondyle, a bony bump on the outer aspect of the humerus, is the site of attachment for several of the forearm muscles including the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB). When the elbow is straight the ECRB muscle helps to stabilize the wrist. Tennis elbow, also known as Lateral Epicondylitis, is often the result of inflammation of the ECRB tendon.


What causes Tennis Elbow?

While common amongst individuals ages 30 to 50 that play racket sports, Tennis Elbow can affect anyone. Carpenters, plumbers and butchers are also prone to developing this disorder. Most frequently it is caused by muscle strain and overuse. Due to its location in the forearm, the ERCB muscle rubs against the bony epicondyle. Microscopic tears can form in the ERCB tendon producing inflammation.


What are the symptoms of Tennis Elbow?

Pain or tenderness to the outer aspect of the elbow is characteristic of Tennis Elbow. The pain can vary from mild to severe and is often worse after activity. Muscle weakness or decreased grip strength can also occur, and the dominant arm is more frequently affected. Those with mild symptoms report pain relief associated with rest.


How is Tennis Elbow diagnosed?

A thorough history and review of symptoms is helpful in determining diagnosis. The physician will consider various factors including age, occupation and recreational activities. During examination, the doctor may manipulate the arm in different positions and apply pressure to see which actions induce pain. X-rays or other imaging tests may be used to exclude other pathology and assess the soft tissues.


How is Tennis Elbow treated?

Non-Surgical

Most patients will have success with conservative treatment alone. Resting the affected arm is the crucial to recovery. Cold compresses may provide significant relief from swelling in the initial phase of treatment. NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) such as ibuprofen and aspirin can help reduce pain and inflammation. In more severe cases an injectable steroid may be used, however the effectiveness may diminish over time. A special forearm brace can relieve symptoms and reduce stress on the affected area and palm up lifting is recommended. The doctor or therapist will endorse special exercises to stretch and strengthen the muscles, as well as various muscle stimulating techniques to support healing.

Surgical

In severe cases or those that do not respond to conservative treatment, surgery may be indicated. The procedure is usually performed on an outpatient basis. A small incision is made on the outside of the elbow. Any scar tissue and diseased muscle is removed. The healthy muscle tissues are reattached to the bone and the incision is sutured closed. A brace is worn for about 3 weeks to completely immobilize the elbow. Therapy begins once the brace is removed and full recovery can be expected at 3 months.


How can Dr. Knight help you with lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow?

Dr. Knight will take a careful history and examination and once he has confirmed the diagnosis he will start a comprehensive conservative program to relieve your pain. In most cases your symptoms will resolve without surgery. If surgery is necessary, a minimally invasive procedure will be recommended to minimize scarring allowing a quick recovery. Dr. Knight is one of the leading specialists of Tennis Elbow in the Dallas, Texas area. We have convenient locations throughout Dallas Fort-Worth. Dr. Knight has seen thousands of patients with Tennis Elbow over 25 years.

Dr. Knight welcomes you to any of our Dallas Fort-Worth accessible hand and wrist offices. Dr. Knight is an accomplished hand specialist. Come to our Southlake office or Dallas office today and bring life back to your hands.


Tennis Elbow Fact Sheet

What are som common causes of Tennis Elbow?Muscle strain, overuse, and repetitive motion are all known to contribute to the development of tennis elbow.
Can I treat my Tennis Elbow without seeing a doctor?If you choose to treat Tennis Elbow at home, then use of rest, cold compresses, braces, splints, and exercise can help to alleviate the symptoms of the condition.
Are there any medications that are aeffective in treating Tennis Elbow?Oftentimes as a part of conservative treatment, a steroid injection can be used to reduce pain and inflammation in the affected area.
Will Tennis Elbow go away?By itself, no, it will go away, but scar tissue developed because can remain
Do I have to play tennis to get it?No, any racket sports can lead to it, as well as many repetitive motion activities besides sports
Is surgery the only solution?Not at all, conservative treatment works for MOST patients, surgery is a last resort.

Frequently asked Questions:

Can I treat Tennis Elbow at home?
Tennis elbow is what is known in medical speak as a “self-limiting condition” which means that it works in such a way that it will eventually, over time, heal itself, but this can take quite a while, and there will be pain and discomfort during the healing process. Of course, once you have the condition diagnosed by a doctor, conservative treatment will be his primary course of action, and these types of treatments including anti-inflammatory medications, exercise, icing and massage, can be done at home. Only a more severe occurrence that requires surgical intervention might have you out of commission for a little bit.

Will tennis elbow be permanent?
As a self-limiting condition, discussed above, tennis elbow will eventually heal itself, so even without surgical intervention, Tennis Elbow will go away. Surgery becomes necessary if the scar tissue in the joint is too dense and large to be rectified naturally or with conservative treatment

I don’t play tennis; how did I get tennis elbow?
The thing about Tennis Elbow is that you don’t need to play tennis to suffer from it. In fact, most people who have this condition DON’T play tennis. As with many medical conditions, the scientific term for the problem, lateral epicondylitis, is both a mouthful and a little bit scary, so it is easier to refer to it by a shorthand, a commonly used nickname for the condition.

Is surgery the only way to cure Tennis Elbow?
In most cases, conservative treatment is more than enough to ease the pain and discomfort of Tennis Elbow. In instances where these treatment options are no longer effective, or the symptoms increase in such a way that there is little a doctor can do to ease them, the surgery is going to be your best option, but this decision will only be as a last resort, and obviously will be made in consultation with your doctor in order to provide you with the best possible outcome.


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    Dr. John Knight
    Dr. John Knight

    Dr. Knight is a renowned hand, wrist and upper extremity surgeon with over 25 years of experience. Dr. Knight is a Board Certified Orthopedic Surgeon and Fellowship trained. Dr Knight has appeared on CNN, The Doctors TV, Good Morning America, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, Forbes, The Huffington Post, Entrepreneur, Oxygen network and more.