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Why See a Surgeon for Tennis Elbow?

Tennis elbow can be painful and cause swelling in the elbow, most often caused by overuse and — as the name implies — those who play tennis are indeed susceptible to the condition. 

But does it only affect those who play tennis? The answer is no. Many other patients who do not play tennis may experience the symptoms. Patients who play other racquet sports such as table tennis or badminton can also experience tennis elbow as well as other sports that put stress on the elbow. Even painters and plumbers are known to develop tennis elbow due to the overuse of the elbow day after day.  

The cause of tennis elbow is inflammation and sometimes small micro tears in the tendons in the joints just outside of the elbow. With time, forearm muscles and tendons experience damage due to repetitive actions. The result is pain and tenderness in the affected elbow. 

Fortunately, there are several treatment options for tennis elbow. Conservative measures such as physical therapy are usually attempted first, before surgery is considered. But in more severe cases surgery is an option to correct the condition, easing pain and increasing mobility in the elbow. 


What are the Symptoms of Tennis Elbow?

The symptoms of tennis elbow are not immediate, they increase gradually over time. Symptoms may be mild at first but worsen over several weeks or months. There are no injuries that are usually associated with the onset of symptoms. 

Common signs of symptoms of tennis elbow can include: 

  • Pain or burning sensations on the outer part of the elbow
  • Pain that is worse at night
  • Weakening in grip strength
  • Noticing your hand turns into a “wrench” when gripping objects
  • Shaky hands 

Most often only one side is affected but sometimes it can affect both elbows. If symptoms worsen, make sure to see an orthopedic doctor to discuss treatment options. 


How Can I Treat Tennis Elbow?

Often, tennis elbow can be treated by resting the elbow, using over the counter pain relievers such as NSAIDS which also help with inflammation, or wearing an elbow brace. Physical therapy is also a conservative treatment option. If after 6-12 months of trying to heal the elbow with conservative measures, then surgery may be considered. 


What are the Types of Surgery for Tennis Elbow?

The goal of surgery is to remove damaged areas of the tendon. The result is decreased pain and increased mobility. There are two options for surgery for the condition: open surgery and arthroscopic surgery. 

Open Surgery

With an open surgery, the surgeon makes a cut above the bone on the affected elbow. They are then able to remove the damaged tendons and then reattach the healthy tendons.

Sometimes the surgeon will remove small pieces of bone in the elbow during the surgery which helps to improve blood flow to the elbow, allowing for better healing. 

Arthroscopic Surgery 

If the surgeon performs an arthroscopic procedure, they make small cuts into the skin above the elbow. Small instruments and a camera are inserted into the incisions to help guide the surgeon to remove damaged parts of the elbow. 

You may be awake or asleep during the procedure, depending on your case. Pain medication is used so you do not experience pain during your surgery. 

With both surgeries, sutures are used to close the incision. A bandage or dressing is then applied on top to protect the wound. The surgery is performed at an outpatient surgery center and you will go home on the same day. 


outpatient surgery center in Raleigh

How Raleigh Orthopedic Surgeons Can Help if You have Tennis Elbow

Our surgeons at Raleigh Orthopaedic surgery center are board-certified physicians with advanced training in their sub-specialty. 

Our outpatient surgery center in Raleigh has a highly experienced and motivated team, offering a new level of orthopedic surgical excellence. We are the largest outpatient surgery center in the Triangle to specialize exclusively in orthopedics, and our patients receive outstanding patient satisfaction, superior clinical outcomes, and reduced costs.

We look forward to working with you in the near future. 


The material contained on this site is for informational purposes only and DOES NOT CONSTITUTE THE PROVIDING OF MEDICAL ADVICE, and is not intended to be a substitute for independent professional medical judgment, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions or concerns you may have regarding your health.