Medical questions & health advice by board certified doctors
"What is tennis elbow?"
I work at a place where I lift packages all day, and my right elbow always is sore and achy after my shift. My boss says it could be tennis elbow. What is tennis elbow exactly? How long does it take to heal?
Tennis elbow is the common term used to describe the medical condition lateral epicondylitis. Lateral epicondylitis is an irritation and inflammation of part of the elbow that occurs with overuse of that joint. It got its name because the arm motion of swinging a tennis racket repeatedly can result in this irritation. The symptoms people have include pain in the elbow, inability to pick up objects such as pots and pans, inability to pour drinks from a relatively heavy container, and difficulty gripping objects with the hand. It is important for you to see a doctor about this issue. There are several reasons for this. First, the problem is affecting you at work which has implications for you future at this job. Second, tennis elbow is treatable, and treatment should begin as soon as possible. Third, pain in the elbow is not always tennis elbow. You need to be formally diagnosed before any treatment is started. I suggest that you schedule an appointment with your primary care physician. He or she can perform several in office maneuvers that can differentiate tennis elbow from other causes of pain in that area such as carpal tunnel. From there, you can begin treatment for the appropriate condition. Good luck.
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