Lateral Epicondylitis: Protect Yourself This Tennis Season

Tennis season is open! For many North Carolinians, tennis is more than a recreational sport, it is a source of endorphins, socialization, and routine. This means that a lateral epicondylitis diagnosis simply does not fit into the schedule! For those of you wondering what lateral epicondylitis is, you may know the condition better as “tennis elbow.”

At EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region, our board-certified, fellowship-trained Elbow and Arm physicians are experts in diagnosing and treating a number of orthopedic conditions—including lateral epicondylitis. 

Learn all about tennis elbow causes, risks, and treatment methods from the orthopedic practice that helps patients Emerge Stronger. Healthier. Better. 

What Is Lateral Epicondylitis?

Lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow refers to inflammation of the tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the outside of the elbow. It is probably not surprising, given the explanation, why the condition is associated with tennis players. 

The main causes of tennis elbow are:

  • Overuse due to athletic activities (especially tennis and other racquet sports)
  • Wear and tear from occupations that stress the muscles of the forearm and elbow (painters, carpenters, and plumbers)
  • Age; people in their fourth and fifth decades of life are most susceptible  

Anyone who continuously participates in activities that involve repetitive movement of the forearm and elbow is at risk of developing lateral epicondylitis. 

How Do You Know If You Have Lateral Epicondylitis?

Tennis elbow symptoms often develop slowly. The most common symptoms of lateral epicondylitis include:

  • Mild pain that eventually becomes more severe over time
  • Burning sensation with or without pain that radiates on the outer part of the elbow
  • Weakness, especially when attempting to grip objects 

Tennis elbow typically affects your dominant arm but has been known to affect both arms.

Many EmergeOrtho patients want to know if there is a way to protect themselves from tennis elbow. 

We are happy to report that there are preventative measures to implement to help protect your arm and elbow this tennis season!

Three Ways to Protect Your Tennis Arm and Elbow

By following a few simple steps, you can encourage a safe, healthy, and enjoyable tennis season without tennis elbow:

  1. Image of a woman’s hand squeezing a blue stress ball.Warm-Up and Stretch Out
    Cold, stiff muscles are more prone to injury. Prior to a tennis practice or game, allow yourself three to five minutes of warm-up exercises. Two great exercises for your warm-up, that also strengthen the forearm: stress ball squeeze and forearm supination and pronationGently squeeze and release a stress ball ten times in your dominant hand. For forearm supination and pronation, place a small three or five-pound weight in one hand. Face the palm holding the weight up parallel with the forearm, and then gently rotate the forearm down. Start with a few rotations, and work your way to 30 repetitions. 
  2. Take a Break
    If you feel any pain in the arm or elbow, do not push through the pain. Instead, take a break. Try doing a mild stretch prior to returning to the court. 
  3. Ask an Orthopedic Expert For More Tips
    At EmergeOrtho—Triangle Region both our Elbow and Arm and Sports Medicine experts are here to provide you with personalized preventative strategies to keep you safe—on and off the tennis court. 

If You Suspect You May Already Have Tennis Elbow

If you are concerned that you may be experiencing tennis elbow, do not panic! Our Triangle Region Elbow and Arm team utilize state-of-the-art diagnostic tools and innovative treatment approaches to address lateral epicondylitis. We offer several conservative treatment methods as well as sophisticated surgical approaches such as tennis elbow release surgery

Do not wait to seek treatment for tennis elbow, schedule a consultation now. Or, call us any time at 919-220-5255 for more tennis injury and condition preventative tips.