Lateral epicondylitis (Tennis elbow)/Medial epicondylitis (Golfer’s elbow) are painful conditions of the elbow where injury, overuse, or repetitive activity causes inflammation of the muscles and tendons in the forearm.
The elbow joint is made up of three bones; the humerus in the upper arm, and the radius and ulna in the forearm. The forearm muscles attach to the medial and lateral epicondyle of the humerus. Lateral epicondylitis affects the extensor muscles of the forearm that attach to the lateral (outer) epicondyle of the humerus. Medial epicondylitis affects the flexor muscles of the forearm that attach to the medial (inner) epicondyle of the humerus.
Lateral epicondylitis (Tennis elbow) symptoms:
Medial epicondylitis (Golfer’s elbow) symptoms:
Lateral/Medial Epicondylitis is diagnosed in the office after thorough discussion and physical exam with your orthopedic provider. X-rays of the elbow are mostly used to rule out other elbow problems. MRI can be ordered to evaluate for tendon or ligament tears or other soft tissue abnormalities.
Open or Arthroscopic surgical debridement of the affected tendon, followed by tendon repair can be performed if symptoms persist after 6-12 months of nonsurgical management.
Most of the patients can start gentle range-of-motion exercises shortly after surgery, followed by light stretching and strengthening exercises 2 weeks after surgery. These exercises work the muscles of the forearm without straining the healing tissue. Physical therapy is sometimes recommended to improve the strength of the elbow and forearm.
**Disclaimer: Treatment recommendations may vary depending on your true diagnosis. Always follow the recommendations of your orthopedic provider.