Tennis Elbow

Tennis elbow is a repetitive overuse injury of the outside elbow that occurs when the muscles and tendons in the elbow area are torn or damaged.

What causes tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is usually caused by repetitive activities that require you to extend your wrist, such as hitting backhand in tennis or playing other racquet sports. The risk increases as your child ages and plays harder or more competitive games.

What are the symptoms of tennis elbow?

The following are the most common symptoms of tennis elbow. However, each child may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • Pain, especially over the outside area of the elbow
  • Pain with wrist movement

The symptoms of tennis elbow may resemble other conditions or medical problems. Always consult your child's doctor for a diagnosis.

Treatment for tennis elbow

Specific treatment for tennis elbow will be determined by your child's doctor based on the following:

  • Your child's age, overall health, and medical history
  • Extent of the injury
  • Child's tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

Treatment may include:

  • Rest the area
  • Ice packs to the area
  • Pain-free stretching and strengthening exercises
  • Wearing an elbow strap called a counterforce brace
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines, such as ibuprofen

Prevention of tennis elbow

Some tips for preventing injury include the following:

  • Perform warm-up and cool-down exercises before and after tennis play that includes stretching the muscles in the arm.
  • Use appropriately-sized tennis equipment. Racquet handles and heads that are too big or too small or strings that are too tight or too loose can put more stress on the elbow.
  • Evaluate technique or training issues that may be contributing to the problem. Learn new ways to play that avoid repeated stress on the joints.  A common training error is being too quick to increase the duration or intensity of an activity when starting a new exercise routine.

The Sport Medicine clinic offers comprehensive care and treatment for children and adolescents with acute and chronic injuries. Call 832-22-SPORT (227-7678) for an appointment.