Treatment Options for Tennis Elbow – Get Back Into the Game in Lafayette, LA
Tennis elbow, or lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition that occurs when certain tendons – those that attach the forearm muscles to the bone on the outer (lateral) side of the elbow – become inflamed, frayed, or torn. These tendons allow the wrist to bend backward, away from the palm. In addition to pain on the lateral side of the elbow, tennis elbow can cause a burning sensation that radiates from the elbow through the forearm and into the wrist, possibly weakening the hand grip.
Lateral epicondylitis can strike suddenly following a direct blow to the arm, but it more often develops gradually with repetitive use of the forearm muscles. While this type of overuse is common among tennis players, similar motions are also performed during many daily activities, such as those that involve lifting, gripping, or grasping.
How is tennis elbow treated?
Lateral epicondylitis often resolves on its own, although full healing can take up to two years. In the interim, conservative treatments can help relieve uncomfortable symptoms. After diagnosing tennis elbow, Peter D. Vizzi, M.D., a board-certified orthopedic surgeon who practices in Lafayette, Louisiana, may discuss the following treatment options:
- Rest – To allow the injury time to heal, any activities that worsen the pain should be temporarily avoided.
- Cold therapy – An ice pack can be applied to the painful area as needed to reduce inflammation.
- Over-the-counter medications – Pain relievers and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can improve comfort, if necessary.
- Physical therapy – A physician or physical therapist can recommend appropriate exercises to stretch and strengthen the forearm muscles, which can help prevent further injuries.
- Bracing – A brace or elastic bandage can be worn during certain activities to support and stabilize the arm.
- Steroid injections – To address severe or persistent pain, a powerful anti-inflammatory medication can be injected directly into the inflamed area.
To address debilitating pain that does not respond to several months of conservative treatment, Dr. Vizzi may discuss tennis elbow surgery, such as a procedure to relieve pressure in the inflamed area or address a damaged tendon.
Whether or not you play tennis, if you’re experiencing a burning sensation in your lower arm, you might have tennis elbow. Dr. Vizzi can confirm your diagnosis and explain your treatment options. Contact his office in Lafayette, LA, to request an appointment today.