The Ins and Outs of Tennis Elbow: Common Causes and Latest Available Treatments from Santa Rosa Orthopaedics

At Santa Rosa Orthopaedics, The Hand Center Dr. Mintalucci and Dr. Mazur lead an experienced team of physical and occupational therapists and together they bring the best outcomes to patients suffering from an array of hand and upper extremity conditions including Tennis Elbow.

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The symptoms of tennis elbow develop gradually in most people.

Up to 95 percent of all patients experience success with prescribed nonsurgical treatments.

Santa Rosa, California (PRWEB) March 23, 2014

Athletes are not the only people who get tennis elbow. Many people who suffer from tennis elbow work or participate in activities that require repetitive and vigorous use of the forearm muscle. Lateral epicondylitis, or tennis elbow affects the tendons that are attached to the bone on the outside (lateral) part of the elbow. In this case, the tendon’s attachment deteriorates and weakens at the anchor site causing stress on the area. This in turn causes pain when lifting, gripping, and/or grasping. While tennis is commonly associated with this, the problem can occur with many different types of activities. Painters, plumbers, and carpenters are also highly prone to developing tennis elbow. Studies have shown that even auto workers, cooks and butchers are more likely to get tennis elbow than people in other professions. The consensus among experts is that the repetition and weight lifting required in these occupations leads to injury.

Recent studies show that tennis elbow happens when damage to a specific forearm muscle called the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle occurs. This muscle is designed to stabilize the wrist when the elbow is held in a straight position. When the ECRB is weakened from overuse, microscopic tears form in the tendon where it attaches to the lateral epicondyle, leading to pain and inflammation.

SRO’s Hand Center responds with the latest in orthopaedic technology and a collaborative relationship between the patient, physicians, therapists and professional staff in order to ensure the best treatment and outcome for patients suffering from tennis elbow. The Hand Center at SRO, led by Dr. Kai-Uwe Mazur and Dr. Mintalucci is also the only hand center in the North Bay that has orthopaedic surgeons who are fellowship trained in hand and upper body extremity surgery.

Symptoms

The symptoms of tennis elbow develop gradually in most people. In some cases, the pain begins as mild and slowly worsens over time, and there is usually no specific injury associated with the onset of symptoms. Common signs and symptoms of tennis elbow include:

  •     Pain or burning on the outer part of the elbow
  •     Weak grip strength

The symptoms are often worsened with forearm activity, such as holding a racquet, turning a wrench, or shaking hands, usually affecting the dominant arm (although both arms can be affected).

Treatment

There is an assortment of treatment options for tennis elbow which involves a team approach; primary doctors, physical therapists, and sometimes surgeons, all work together to provide the most effective care for tennis elbow. Up to 95 percent of all patients experience success with prescribed nonsurgical treatments. These may include; rest, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, physical therapy and perhaps the use of a brace to help relieve symptoms.

Having sports equipment checked by an expert for contributing factors can often help to identify issues that can cause strain and injury. In racquet sports such as tennis, both improper stroke technique and improper equipment may be risk factors. Sometimes something as simple as using an oversized racquet or changing to a smaller head can help to prevent symptoms from recurring.

Other treatments may include steroid injections and shockwave treatment. Surgery is generally only considered when the pain has become incapacitating and has not responded to nonsurgical treatments, and when symptoms have persisted for more than six months.

Getting the Help You Need

When you lose mobility due to injury or disease, you want and deserve the best possible care. Specialized attention must be given to all of the physical elements that work together to create healthy function of the hand and arm possible. Surgeons and ortheopeadic specialists at Santa Rosa Ortheopeadics are specifically trained to provide just that care, tailored to fit your needs.

The Hand Center at SRO provides patients with state-of-the-art medical care in a comprehensive and supportive environment. At SRO, Dr. Mintalucci and Dr. Mazur each play an integral role in a team of 9 multi-specialist orthopedic surgeons, and experienced physical and occupational therapists all working together to bring the best outcome to patients.

For more information on Dr. Mintalucci, or Dr. Mazur, the SRO Hand Center or the other centers of excellence,visit our website or call (707) 546-1922 to schedule an appointment.