What Does Tennis Elbow Look Like

What Does Tennis Elbow Look Like?

Tennis elbow, medically known as lateral epicondylitis, is a common condition characterized by pain and inflammation in the tendons that attach to the bony prominence on the outside of the elbow. While the term “tennis elbow” suggests a connection to the sport of tennis, the condition can occur due to various repetitive arm motions, not just those involved in playing tennis. Understanding what does tennis elbow look like and symptoms of tennis elbow is crucial for accurate diagnosis and effective management.

Symptoms of Tennis Elbow

The symptoms of tennis elbow typically develop gradually and worsen over time. Common signs and symptoms include:

Visual Appearance of Tennis Elbow

What does tennis elbow look like?

Tennis elbow often presents as swelling and tenderness on the outside of the elbow, near the bony prominence known as the lateral epicondyle. In some cases, the affected area may appear red or inflamed, indicating underlying inflammation. Additionally, individuals with tennis elbow may experience pain and discomfort when performing activities that involve gripping, lifting, or twisting motions, such as shaking hands, turning a doorknob, or lifting objects.

Pain and Discomfort

The primary symptom of tennis elbow is pain and discomfort on the outside of the elbow, particularly during activities that involve gripping or repetitive arm movements. The pain may radiate from the elbow down the forearm and worsen with certain movements, such as lifting objects or extending the wrist.

Swelling and Inflammation

Inflammation of the tendons in the elbow region can lead to swelling and localized tenderness. The affected area may feel warm to the touch, and there may be visible swelling or a lump near the lateral epicondyle. Swelling and inflammation are common manifestations of the body’s response to tissue damage and irritation.

Tenderness and Sensitivity

Tenderness and sensitivity to touch are hallmark symptoms of tennis elbow. Gentle pressure applied to the lateral epicondyle or surrounding areas may elicit pain or discomfort. Tenderness may also be present along the path of the affected tendons, extending from the elbow down the forearm.

Restricted Movement

Individuals with tennis elbow may experience limitations in range of motion and stiffness in the elbow joint. Movements that involve bending or straightening the elbow, as well as rotating the forearm, may be accompanied by pain and stiffness. These limitations can affect daily activities and may worsen without appropriate treatment.

Diagnostic Tests and Imaging

Diagnosing tennis elbow typically involves a thorough physical examination, evaluation of medical history, and assessment of symptoms. In some cases, imaging studies such as X-rays or MRI scans may be ordered to rule out other potential causes of elbow pain and to assess the extent of tissue damage. Diagnostic tests may also include provocative maneuvers and specialized tests to assess tendon integrity and function.

Understanding the symptoms and visual appearance of tennis elbow is essential for prompt diagnosis and initiation of appropriate treatment. Early intervention can help alleviate pain, reduce inflammation, and prevent further damage to the affected tendons, allowing individuals to resume their normal activities with minimal discomfort.