There are many types of pain in your body that you should never ignore in the simple hopes it will go away on its own, and the symptoms of tennis elbow are a great example. Especially if you’ve been dealing with these symptoms for any period of time, but even if not, simply letting them linger is highly likely to lead to an increase in your discomfort.
At The Orthopaedic Center, we’re happy to offer high-quality orthopedic doctor services for patients around Tulsa with varying needs – including for shoulder and elbow needs of any kind, such as tennis elbow and more. Unfortunately, we’ve seen many patients who have let their tennis elbow pain linger, and have seen worsening symptoms as a result. Here are some of the basics on tennis elbow and its symptoms, plus the major risks you’re taking if you don’t see a medical professional for these.
Basics and Causes of Tennis Elbow
Known medically as lateral epicondylitis, this condition causes pain in the outside of your elbow and upper forearm. The tendons that connect your muscles to the bones on your arms can become inflamed due to a number of reasons, including overuse or incorrect technique when using your arm – such as during sports.
The reason it’s called tennis elbow is because it’s a common affliction among players of this sport, but it can affect anyone who uses their arms and hands in repetitive motions. It’s also more common among people aged 30-50, as well as those with occupations that require regular use of the arms and hands.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
The main symptom associated with tennis elbow is a strong pain on the outside of your elbow that may move down to your forearm. You may also notice fatigue and tenderness in this area, as well as weakness when flexing or extending the arm.
Furthermore, there may be swelling and bruising around the elbow joint, making it even more painful. You may also find it difficult to hold or grip objects in your hand, or to move your arm and elbow properly.
Our next several sections will go over the major risks present in ignoring these symptoms if they’re present.
Acute Pain Turning Chronic
In most cases, tennis elbow begins as acute pain – that is, pain that has a clear start and end, such as after playing a sport or doing an intense activity with your arm. However, if you don’t seek medical treatment for these symptoms, the acute pain can very quickly turn into chronic pain – meaning that it’s more persistent and difficult to treat.
The longer you wait to see a doctor, the worse your chances for having a successful treatment become. You also may have to consider more invasive forms of treatment if you wait too long.
Decreased Mobility and Range of Motion
By not seeking medical attention, you may find that your mobility decreases more and more over time. Your range of motion in the affected arm or elbow area may be limited to the point where it’s difficult to do everyday tasks – such as opening a jar, carrying grocery bags, or even brushing your hair.
This can be extremely detrimental to your life and routine, so seeking medical help as soon as possible is essential in these cases.
Loss of Function
Down even more serious lines, by not seeking professional help for your tennis elbow you could end up with a total loss of function in the affected arm or elbow. This means that you wouldn’t be able to use it at all, and any activities involving the arm/elbow would be impossible.
This is why it’s so important to seek medical attention as soon as possible after noticing the initial symptoms – to ensure that you don’t end up in this very serious situation.
Finally, if you wait too long to see a doctor for your tennis elbow, you may be faced with the possibility of needing surgery. This is one of the most invasive treatments, and of course carries many risks – such as infection, nerve damage, and more.
By getting medical help sooner rather than later, you can increase your chances of avoiding these major risks and getting your tennis elbow under control with more conservative treatments.
At The Orthopaedic Center, we provide comprehensive care for tennis elbow and other sports injuries among Tulsa patients. Our experienced orthopedic physicians understand the importance of early diagnosis, and can help you create a personalized treatment plan tailored to your needs. Contact us today to learn more!