If you play racquet sports and experience pain in your dominant arm, you should read on to learn about tennis elbow symptoms. Although the pain generally begins at the elbow, it can move to other parts of the arm and hand. The discomfort makes simple activities such as holding a coffee mug difficult.
- Causes. Tennis elbow symptoms generally occur after you overuse your arm. The excessive use causes the tendon fibers that fuse muscles to bone to tear or separate. Although the condition is associated with tennis players, any repetitive activity can cause tennis elbow.
- Pain. Pain on the outside of the elbow of the dominant arm is one of the most common tennis elbow symptoms. Pain usually subsides within 24 hours during the early stages of the condition. As the condition worsens, the pain lasts longer. The amount of pain is the highest during the evening and makes it difficult for you to sleep. Your elbow is usually stiff when you wake up the next morning.
- Difficulty using arm. Another of the commonly experienced tennis elbow symptoms is difficulty using your arm to perform simple activities. Turning a doorknob, grasping a coffee cup, shaking hands or starting your car causes excruciating pain in your elbow.
- Medical Exams. Tennis elbow symptoms cannot be confirmed using X-rays. The damage caused to the tendon fibers is rarely observable with X-rays. Instead, doctors will use your descriptions of the pain and perform a physical examination to determine the cause of your symptoms.
- Treatment. Mild cases of tennis elbow can be treated with over-the-counter pain creams and medications. Wearing an arm brace relieves pain and protects your elbow from further injury. More severe tennis elbow symptoms may require cortisone injections. Tennis elbow rarely requires surgery to correct the tears in the tendon fibers.