Tennis elbow is one of the most common causes of persistent elbow pain.
Despite its name, it can affect anyone, not just athletes or racket sport players, says Dr. Andrew Kirkpatrick, fellowship trained hand surgeon at Orthopedics & Sports Medicine by BayCare Clinic.
“Tennis elbow is a very common problem, we see it almost daily in the hand surgery clinic,” he says. “It is a tendonitis or inflammation of the tendons on the outside of the elbow, and it can really be limiting for people in what they are able to do.”
The condition, according to Kirkpatrick, is often characterized by pain on the outside of the elbow. It can be constant, achy, or sharp pain during activity, he says.
“You don’t have to play tennis to get tennis elbow,” Kirkpatrick says. “In fact, the majority of people who we see with this problem have not played tennis.”
Other common causes include repetitive activity, or a specific injury suffered while performing a task, he adds.
Don’t live with chronic pain from tennis elbow
People who don’t seek treatment for the condition are not necessarily at risk for permanent damage, but they are living with pain that they don’t have to live with, Kirkpatrick says.
“I’ve treated many patients with tennis elbow and the vast majority of them have 100 percent resolution of their symptoms,” Kirkpatrick says.
He offers a variety of treatment options for the condition including surgery, therapy and conservative methods like braces and slings.
“There are many things we can do to make the pain from tennis elbow go away,” he says. “So, there is never an inappropriate time to come and see us in the clinic for tennis elbow.”
Kirkpatrick is board-certified by the American Board of Orthopaedic Surgery and completed fellowship training in hand surgery at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester.
He earned his medical degree from the Medical College of Wisconsin in Milwaukee and completed his residency in orthopedic surgery at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha.
He specializes in hand and upper extremity procedures and regularly treats tennis elbow, as well as carpal tunnel syndrome, arthritis, wrist pain, tendon and ligament injuries, trigger finger, nerve disorders, fractures, dislocations, tingling and numbness, congenital abnormalities, elbow conditions and emergency or long-term hand related conditions and injuries.