Tennis Elbow is a common orthopedic issue affecting between 1 and 3 percent of the US population. It typically affects people between the ages of 30 and 50 years old. Tennis elbow is a wear and tear injury that occurs from damaging the elbow tendons that connect the forearm muscles to the elbow joint. Less than 5% of tennis elbow cases are people who actually play tennis; more often, it happens to those who repeatedly use their elbow, wrist, and hands for their job, sport, or hobby.
The symptoms of tennis elbow develop gradually. In most cases, the pain begins as mild and slowly worsens over weeks and months. There are many treatment options for tennis elbow. An orthopedic surgeon will diagnose the condition based on the symptoms and imaging tests such as X-rays or an MRI scan to confirm the diagnosis and rule out any other issues.
Top Nonsurgical Treatment Options
- Rest - Give the injured arm significant rest. Stop participation in sports or heavy work activities for several weeks.
- Bracing - Use a brace centered over the forearm to help relieve symptoms of tennis elbow and provide stabilization.
- Physical therapy rehabilitation- After allowing time to recover, talk to a doctor or a physical therapist about specific exercises to strengthen the forearm muscles and warm up the elbow joint to minimize re-injury risk.
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines - Medicines like aspirin or ibuprofen may be used to reduce pain and swelling.
- Corticosteroid injections - If the tennis elbow does not begin to heal after two months of rest and rehabilitation, corticosteroid injections may aid the healing process.
- Platelet-rich plasma therapy (PRP) - PRP offers advanced treatments that utilize platelet-rich plasma and stem cells derived from your own body to encourage regrowth of injured tendons, aid the body’s natural healing potential and help the regeneration of tissue.