Tennis Elbow Doesn't Just Affect Tennis Players

The Huffington Post—July 8, 2008

Despite the name, tennis elbow is a painful injury that can happen to almost anyone regardless of whether or not they are any good at the sport. The condition is most common among athletes who routinely do the flexion and extension of the arm typical to tennis, but according to David Dines, M.D., a sports medicine specialist at Hospital for Special Surgery and medical director for the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) Tour, everyday activities have the potential to cause it as well.

"Any repetitive motion that involves extending the wrist/supinating the forearm ....gardening, carpentry, even carrying a heavy briefcase... can cause the symptoms," Dines said. The most common symptom of tennis elbow is a pain that originates on the outward (thumb side) of the arm.

Treatment for tennis elbow is usually non-invasive and involves a combination of rest and modification of activity. But sometimes that isn't enough.

"Most patients are typically treated with a combination of non-operative modalities, and the success rate is about 80%," Dines said. "However, there are a percentage of patients that do not respond and may need surgery."

According to Dines, the need for drastic treatment options is rare and reserved for cases that persist for more than a year in spite of more conservative treatments. In most cases tennis elbow can be treated and the patient can resume their everyday activities.

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