Simply considering its name, you may think tennis elbow only affects tennis players, but the fact of the matter is, it can affect anyone, particularly people who constantly use their forearm.If your job or sport is strenuous in nature or if it involves repetitive movement of your forearm, you may be at risk of developing tennis elbow. To have a better understanding of tennis elbow, let’s talk about its symptoms and the tests your doctor may order to diagnose it.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, refers to tears in your elbow and forearm muscles and tendons. It may manifest as a sharp, burning pain in the outside of your elbow. As the condition progresses, the pain may radiate up to your forearms, then to your wrists, and may worsen when gripping and lifting even light objects like mugs.
However, these symptoms can overlap with those of other conditions, so it proves prudent to consult an orthopedic doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Diagnosing Tennis Elbow
Orthopedic doctors typically diagnose tennis elbow through physical examinations. But to rule out other conditions that produce similar symptoms, your doctor may recommend diagnostic tests, such as MRI, X-ray, and electromyography (EMG) scans. Let’s run through their uses below:
Your doctor may order an MRI to evaluate the severity of your torn elbow muscles and eventually devise a suitable treatment plan.
Usually, there are no special preparations for an MRI test. However, since it employs powerful magnets, it is only recommended for patients who don’t have metallic or medical devices in their bodies. If you have a pacemaker or joint prosthesis, your doctor may order alternative imaging tests instead.
While X-rays won’t be able to show anything pertaining to tennis elbow, they will help your doctor rule out other conditions, such as arthritis. Your doctor may also order a high-precision X-ray to assess your bone density, which is essential for ruling out osteoporosis.
X-rays don’t typically entail preparation. However, if the X-ray does require the use of a contrast dye (substance used to show the stark contrast of structures within your body), you’ll be given instructions to prepare for the procedure, especially if you have allergies.
· Electromyography (EMG)
EMG is a procedure used for assessing the health of your muscles and the nerves that control them.
Doctors usually request an EMG for patients with muscle and nerve complications. Electrodes will detect transmitted nerve signals during an EMG and report them as sounds or numerical values for interpretation. These will help your doctor rule out nerve conditions, such as nerve entrapment.
Your doctor will likely advise you to not apply lotion on your elbows before the exam, as this may interfere with the testing. You should also inform your physician if you are taking blood thinners or using a pacemaker.
Tennis Elbow Doctor in Sarasota or Bradenton, FL
Here at Intercoastal Medical Group, we are committed to delivering high-quality and patient-centered care to everyone in the Sarasota and Bradenton areas in Florida.
We are a multispecialty practice, so regardless of the nature of your condition, we have board-certified, highly qualified physicians—including orthopedic doctors—who can provide you with effective treatment when you need it.
If you suspect that you have tennis elbow, visit us at Intercoastal Medical Group for an evaluation. To schedule a consultation with one of our orthopedic doctors, call us at one of our locations or use our online form. We look forward to providing you with the best in healthcare!