Handcare.org is a patient resource created by the American Society for Surgery of the Hand, the oldest and most prestigious medical specialty society dedicated to the hand, wrist, arm and shoulder.
Dr. Noah Raizman answers your questions about Lateral Epicondylitis, sometimes known as tennis elbow.
Q: What is Lateral Epicondylitis, and is it the same thing as “Tennis Elbow?”
A: Lateral Epicondylitis and Tennis Elbow are one and the same. Lateral Epicondylitis is a painful condition caused by damage to the elbow where the tendons that extend your wrist and fingers originate from. That area is called the lateral epicondyle. Tendons attach muscle to bone. The primary muscle that allows your wrist to extend, the ECRB (extensor carpi radialis brevis), is usually the tendon involved.
Q: What causes it?
A: Lateral Epicondylitis can be caused by trauma, repetitive mild trauma and overuse, but truly, we are not sure why some people get it and others do not. We consider it a “tendinopathy of middle age” because it typically happens in patients in their 40s and 50s, though it can occur at any age. Sometimes it is due to sports activities like golf or racquet sports and sometimes from work activities, but, just as often, it seems to happen after lifting or carrying objects.
Q: What are the symptoms?
A: Lateral Epicondylitis typically includes symptoms such as pain over the outside (lateral) part of the elbow. There is typically no clicking, popping or feeling of instability. There typically is no pain over the back or inside of the elbow. The pain is worst with gripping, grasping and wringing activities and can be provoked by typing or using a computer mouse with the wrist extended. There is not usually any numbness or tingling associated with it.
Carpal tunnel syndrome is caused by swelling in the carpal tunnel, which puts pressure on the nerve. This pressure can happen due to joint dislocations, fractures, arthritis, and many other causes. Symptoms can include pain, numbness, tingling, a weak grip and clumsiness. Learn more about carpal tunnel syndrome at www.handcare.org.
The wrist bones and hand bones give you the support and flexibility needed to move your hand in all different ways and control objects of all shapes and sizes. There are eight bones in the wrist:
The scaphoid bone is the most commonly injured wrist bone, typically resulting in a scaphoid fracture.
Learn more about the bones of the wrist with the interactive anatomy tool from the American Society for Surgery of the Hand.
Arthritis is a common hand condition that can affect anyone. Learn about the different types of arthritis below.
Visit www.handcare.org to browse articles, images and videos related to arthritis.
Follow these steps to find one of more than 3,500 surgeon members of the American Society for Surgery of the Hand:
Visit a hand surgeon for treatment of the fingers, hand, arm and shoulder. Learn more about hand surgeons and common conditions of the upper extremity at www.handcare.org.