Tennis Elbow Pain Often Erased Through Arthroscopic Surgery

Painful condition can hit those who have never picked up a tennis racquet

DAYTON, Ohio (October 12, 2018) – Tennis elbow is a common injury that often occurs when a player has used an improper stroke technique, but there are some who will suffer from the condition without ever setting foot on a tennis court.

Tennis elbow is a condition of the elbow that usually occurs in people between 30 and 50 years of age and is caused by the overuse of the elbow. The result is a varying degree of pain on the outside of the elbow. Despite its name, the condition doesn’t just affect those who play the sport.

“Many people who use their forearm muscles with repetitive and forceful motions such as painters, plumbers, carpenters and cooks are prone to getting the condition,” said Anthony Checroun, MD, an orthopedic surgeon with Premier Orthopedics.

Tennis elbow is often discovered through its primary symptom of pain, which can radiate from the outside of the elbow into a person’s forearm and wrist. Pain and weakness can make it difficult for a person to do everyday activities such as turning a doorknob, holding a cup of coffee and even shaking a person’s hand.

Activities and occupations that require repetitive wrist extension can create small micro tears of the forearm tendon at their attachment on the outside bump of the elbow known as the lateral epicondyle. Tennis elbow can be treated conservatively with over-the-counter pain relievers and therapy, but surgery may be considered if it doesn’t seem to help after 6 to 12 months of treatment.

Tennis elbow is one of many elbow conditions that can be successfully treated with arthroscopic surgery. This type of outpatient surgery removes the diseased tendon that is the source of the elbow’s pain. Arthroscopically, small incisions are made around the elbow and a small camera is used to look around the elbow joint.

“The advantage of performing this arthroscopically is that other pathology in the joint such as cartilage damage or scarring can be dealt with if needed,” said Dr. Checroun, who practices with Premier Physician Network.

Therapy is often started after surgery where gentle range of motion is established during the first four to six weeks until full range of motion and strength is recovered. 

“It can take several months longer to obtain full strength for individuals who participate in vigorous sports such as tennis,” Dr. Checroun said. “But the good news is that tennis elbow surgery has a success rate of up to 80 to 90 percent.”

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