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Epicondylitis (Tennis elbow) – INFLAMMATION of the TENDON at the elbow end of the humerus (long BONE of the upper arm). Epicondylitis may be lateral or medial. Lateral epicondylitis, commonly called tennis elbow, affects the outer side of the elbow (little finger side). Bending the wrist back or applying pressure to the bony projection (the humeral epicondyle) on the outside of the elbow causes PAIN at the elbow. Painting and plastering are common occupational causes of lateral epicondylitis. Medial epicondylitis, commonly called baseball elbow or golfer’s elbow, affects the inner side of the elbow (thumb side). Bending the wrist toward the palm of the hand or squeezing a ball held in the palm of the hand causes pain at the base of the elbow.
Diagnosis of Epicondylitis and Treatment
The doctor makes the diagnosis on the basis of symptoms and personal history of overuse or a blow to the elbow. Diagnostic procedures are usually not necessary. Treatment combines NONSTEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUGS (NSAIDS) or injections of CORTICOSTEROID MEDICATIONS, which reduce inflammation and pain, with alternating heat and cold to the area. A brace or band worn over the humeral epicondyle provides relief for some people. Epicondylitis generally goes away in 8 to 12 weeks. Recurrent epicondylitis may require surgical repair.