Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a form of tendinosis (chronic degeneration of the tendon).
It is an overuse injury that causes pain and tenderness on and around the tendons that attach to the lateral epicondyle (small bony part on the outside of your elbow).
These tendons are located in your forearm and help to extend your wrist and fingers. The wear and tear on these tendons is a result of small tears in your tissue that don’t heal properly. The inability of your tendon to heal properly causes it to deteriorate until the tissues become very thin, and eventually wear out.
This condition will get worse over time if not dealt with properly. The main problem associated with tennis elbow is failed healing, not inflammation.
In 75% of cases, tennis elbow occurs in the dominant arm. It affects about an equal number of men and women, generally between the ages of 35-65 years old.
Tennis elbow is often confused with Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) another overuse injury. However golfer’s elbow causes pain and tenderness on the inside of the elbow (the medial epicondyle) instead of the outside of the elbow. Tennis elbow is sometimes misdiagnosed as bursitis or arthritis.
Alternate names and/or Related Conditions:
- Epitrochlear bursitis
- Acute elbow tendonitis
- Olecranon bursitis
- Wii elbow
- Plaster’s elbow
- Mechanic’s elbow
- Painter’s elbow
- Elbow strain
How to Treat Your Elbow Tendon Injury
It is important to treat tendon injuries as soon as possible, as any activity or strain you put on your tendon can re-injure it further.
The trick with any tendon injury is getting it toheal with minimal scar tissue formation. Even with optimum healing, there is always less elasticity in a previously injured tendon. This will cause the tendon to hurt, during exercise and everyday activities. However, if you heal your injury efficiently and quickly, your chance of re-injury later on is much lower than average.
Allowing your elbow to rest is always recommended following injury. Avoid all activities that may have caused the injury or irritation and begin cold compression treatments as soon as possible. Blood Flow Stimulation Therapy™ (BFST®) promotes blood flow to heal your tendon faster and more completely than any other methods available.
Although steroid injections may provide temporary relief from the pain of tendinitis or tendinosis, they should generally be avoided as they weaken the tendon. If you do opt for an injection, doctors usually recommend that you do not participate in strenuous activities for several weeks to reduce the risk of a rupture.