You Don’t Need to Play Tennis To Get Tennis Elbow

Despite its name, tennis elbow is not reserved just for tennis players. This painful condition that is characterized by the inflammation of the tendons in your elbow often occurs due to the overuse of the forearm muscles and tendons around it. This means people with jobs that require repetitive motions of the arm such as plumbers, carpenters, butchers, and painters are all susceptible to developing tennis elbow.

At the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute, we strive to always provide the best, most appropriate, and most effective care for all patients who walk through our doors. Double board-certified, fellowship-trained hand surgeon Michael J. Fitzmaurice, MD, has become a leader in minimally invasive hand surgery. For symptoms that don’t respond to conservative treatments, Dr. Fitzmaurice will offer a better alternative to traditional surgery. His innovative treatment for the upper extremities which improves surgical visualization and hastens recovery time has helped many patients, right here in Phoenix, Arizona.

Other Causes of Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow typically develops over time. Repetitive motions can cause strain on the muscles, leading to the constant tugging of the tendons, which can cause tears in the tissue. Aside from manual work that involves repetitive lifting and turning of the wrist (e.g., plumbing, painting, or bricklaying), tennis elbow can also develop from daily activities such as:

  • Gardening
  • Using scissors
  • Knitting 
  • Slicing/cutting tough food
  • Swimming
  • Sports that involve high amounts of throwing movements like tennis, racquetball, squash, fencing, and weight lifting

Symptoms

The most common symptoms of tennis elbow are recurring pain or burning on the outside of the elbow and weakened grip strength. The pain can begin at the elbow and travel down the arm, toward the wrist. The outside of the elbow is also tender to the touch. Although the tissue damage occurs in the elbow, you are likely to feel pain when performing certain activities with your hands. You may experience pain when you:

  • Turn a door handle
  • Grip or lift an object
  • Make a fist 
  • Shake hands

Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow

Most patients experience successful healing with nonsurgical treatments. These include:

  • Rest – a break in any activity will give the arm proper rest. Resting will allow tears in the tendon attachment to heal.
  • Anti-inflammatory medications – these medications will help alleviate inflammation and pain.
  • Bracing – wearing a band over the forearm muscle below the elbow will help reduce tension, allowing the tendon to heal.
  • Physical therapy – players of racquet sports are advised to strengthen their shoulders, upper arms, and abdominal muscles. Strengthening exercises can help reduce the wrist tension during shoulder and arm movements.
  • Range of motion exercises – these exercises will help reduce stiffness and increase flexibility. These are typically performed 3-5 times a day.
  • Cold therapy – icing the elbow will help reduce any pain and swelling. It is recommended to be done for 20-30 minutes every 3-4 hours for 2-3 days, or until the pain is gone.
  • Steroid injections – a strong anti-inflammatory is injected directly into the area to reduce inflammation and pain.

Surgical Treatment 

For severe cases of tennis elbow with symptoms that last longer than 6 to 12 months, your doctor may recommend surgery. Dr. Fitzmaurice offers the most advanced treatments and regenerative techniques available to help his patients recover from hand injuries and nerve and tendon conditions in Phoenix, Arizona. He and his staff are dedicated to providing the best care possible using the most minimally invasive treatment options. Specifically, the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute offers the EndoTech® Tennis Elbow Release. The procedure involves:

  • The debriding of tissue using a very small incision.
  • The releasing of tight bands over the muscles using a specially designed endoscopic instrument.

Studies have shown that this technique’s remarkable visualization significantly decreases surgical risks, with zero complications to date in more than 4000 procedures performed. EndoTech® results in the least amount of pain and the fastest recovery compared to other surgical techniques. This allows for a much higher success rate and a greater overall patient outcome.

Accompanying the procedure is a platelet-rich plasma (PRP) treatment to achieve even better results. PRP treatment is designed to initiate the healing response in an area that is stubborn to heal, such as a torn tendon. The procedure involves taking a small amount of blood from the patient which is spun down using a centrifuge machine. This provides a concentrated source of PRP that is then injected into the area where there is poor blood supply. PRP therapy helps decrease inflammation and pain associated with tendon and soft tissue conditions, as the blood platelets and their growth factors significantly optimize the healing process. PRP will not only slow down the deterioration of the damaged tendon but will also improve the overall strength and function of the tissue.

Schedule Your Tennis Elbow Treatment TodaySeek treatment if you are experiencing pain or are suffering from tennis elbow. To learn more about your treatment options, schedule an appointment with Dr. Fitzmaurice at the Fitzmaurice Hand Institute in Phoenix, Arizona.


Fitzmaurice Hand Institute
8841 E Bell Rd #201
Scottsdale, AZ 85260