Tennis elbow (or lateral epicondylitis) is a condition that affects both the elbow and forearm. It is often caused by repetitive motions using the forearm and can cause pain from damage to the arm muscles.
At Dignity Health, we are proud to have an expertise in orthopedic conditions, and offer effective treatment for tennis elbow in San Francisco, Santa Cruz and across San Mateo County.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Common symptoms of tennis elbow include tenderness, soreness, burning and pain near the elbow, down the top of the forearm and sometimes in the wrist.
When you have tennis elbow, you may feel weakness when you try to grip something, such as a hammer, golf club or even a pen.
What Causes Tennis Elbow
Damage to your forearm muscles (specifically where they attach to the upper arm bone on the outside of the elbow) is the most common cause of this condition. Any repetitive or forceful motion that uses the forearm can cause the muscle damage and lead to tennis elbow.
Despite its name, tennis elbow doesn’t just occur in those who play tennis. It can affect anyone who frequently uses their forearms in gripping, swinging, twisting or pushing motions. This can be common in those who play tennis, garden and golf, as well as those who work in assembly lines or do carpentry, cooking, painting and plumbing.
Diagnosing Tennis Elbow
Doctors will often use a physical exam and your medical history to diagnose tennis elbow. Then, they will assess the range of motion and strength in your elbow, forearm and wrist. They may additionally ask about work and other activities that could have caused muscle damage.
An X-ray or MRI can also be used to confirm the diagnosis or rule out related conditions like arthritis.
Find Reliable Treatment for Tennis Elbow at Dignity Health
Common treatments for tennis elbow may include:
- Forearm strap or wrist brace to relieve stress on the affected muscle and tendon
- Limiting repetitive arm motions to rest the affected muscles
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen to reduce inflammation and swelling
- Physical therapy exercises to strengthen the arm muscles
- Steroid injections for temporary pain relief
- Surgery to reattach the damaged muscle and tendon to the bone
If you’re interested in seeing how Dignity Health can care for tennis elbow and other orthopedic concerns, use our Find a Doctor tool to find a specialist near you.
Dignity Health provides trusted care and treatment for tennis elbow across the San Francisco Bay Area, including San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Redwood City.