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Tennis Elbow: Patient Guide


Another area Doctor Lorcan McGonagle regularly assists with is tennis elbow. If you are concerned that you may be developing tennis elbow or you would simply like to know more about the symptoms and treatments involved, be sure to have a read of the helpful guide our Geraldton team has put together below.

What is tennis elbow?

A type of tendinopathy, tennis elbow is damage to one of the main tendons that attaches to a forearm muscle that moves the wrist . Tennis elbow will often develop due to repetitive wrist or arm movements (e.g. tennis backhand). You do not have to be a tennis player to develop tennis elbow! It can be both painful and irritating for those who suffer from it. 

Tennis elbow symptoms

There are various tennis elbow symptoms you should look out for. A few of the most common symptoms include:

  • A pain on the outer aspect of the elbow.
  • This pain or weakness makes it difficult to perform a range of everyday tasks such as gripping an object, turning a doorknob, opening jars or lifting a bag of groceries

What causes tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is often an overuse injury to one of the main tendon that moves the wrist. Micro tears of the tendon can occur and result in an abnormal healing process with abnormal protein arrangement in the tendon and increased blood flow. Repeated contraction of the forearm muscles which are used to straighten and raise the hand or wrist is a key contributor to tennis elbow.

Tennis elbow treatment

In many cases, tennis elbow will go away on its own and the associated pain can be treated with basic over the counter pain medication. Physical therapy is often a very successful means of treatment. If physical therapy does not work, we will consider injecting local anaesthetic and ‘needling’ (fenestration) of the damaged tendon to try and stimulate a normal healing response.

If tennis elbow symptoms are persistent and do not improve despite these measures, you may be a candidate for surgery which removes the damaged tissue from the area. Following this surgery, rehabilitation exercises will then be required for recovery. 

Here at LMcG Orthopaedics, Doctor McGonagle provides a range of surgical surgeries and treatments for various issues including tennis elbow. If you have a question for our Geraldton team, please get in touch with the clinic today on 08 9921 4847.

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