Tennis Elbow Specialist

Capital City Orthopaedics

Orthopedic Surgery Practice located in Austin, TX

You don’t have to be a racquet sports athlete to develop tennis elbow, a painful injury that affects the elbow, forearm, and wrist. Board-certified orthopedic surgeon Michael Burris, MD, has extensive experience diagnosing and treating tennis elbow at Capital City Orthopaedics in Austin, Texas. If you have elbow or arm pain, call the office or book an appointment online today.

Tennis Elbow Q & A

What is tennis elbow?

Also called lateral epicondylitis, tennis elbow develops when the tendons on the outside of your elbow become damaged and inflamed. These tendons connect your forearm muscles to the bony bump at the end of your upper arm bone called the lateral epicondyle.

Tennis elbow affects the tendons that connect to the bony bump on the outside of your elbow, while golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) affects the tendons that attach to the inner bump. Pain from tennis elbow can spread into your forearm and wrist.

What causes tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is an overuse injury caused by repetitive hand and wrist motions. As the name suggests, tennis players are particularly prone to developing this condition. This is especially true when using poor stroke techniques.

However, tennis elbow affects more than just athletes. Many common arm motions can lead to tennis elbow, such as:

  • Painting
  • Driving screws
  • Using plumbing tools
  • Cutting up meat

Carpenters, plumbers, and butchers are at increased risk of developing tennis elbow. In some cases, tennis elbow may develop without any clear cause.

How do I know if I have tennis elbow?

The most prominent signs and symptoms of tennis elbow include pain and weakness in your elbow, forearm, and wrist. Pain is typically mild at first and gradually worsens over several weeks or months.

Tennis elbow may weaken the strength of your grip and make it difficult to perform tasks such as:

  • Holding a tennis racquet
  • Shaking hands
  • Turning a wrench

This condition can affect only one arm, or both at the same time. Tennis elbow most often occurs in your dominant arm.

How do you diagnose and treat tennis elbow?

Dr. Burris begins with a thorough physical exam and review of your symptoms and medical history. He may also take tests, such as an X-ray or MRI, to rule out other conditions.

Then, Dr. Burris recommends the best course of treatment for your particular condition. About 80% to 95% of patients find relief from nonsurgical treatments, such as:

  • Physical therapy
  • Steroid injections
  • Platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy
  • Wearing a forearm brace

If your symptoms don’t improve with conservative treatment, Dr. Burris may recommend surgery.

If you suspect you may have tennis elbow, don’t hesitate to call Capital City Orthopaedics or book an appointment online today.