Spring is officially here, and many of you will be digging those tennis shoes out of the back of the closet and getting back out on the tennis court.

But your return to the court may bring along that uncomfortable twinge in the arm - tennis elbow.

Now, you don't have to play tennis to get it, but a name's a name.

Tennis elbow is an injury to the muscle or tendon on the outside of the elbow (the lateral epicondyle), causing pain and discomfort. The spot is the anchor against which the hand pulls when making a fist, lifting objects, etc. - so every little activity can cause pain.

About 1% to 3% of the population is affected by tennis elbow, but as many as half of tennis players are affected at least once during their playing lifetime. An interesting note, though, is that less than 5% of tennis elbow diagnoses actually come from playing tennis.

Tennis elbow usually occurs in a person's dominant arm, which makes it difficult to deal with when trying to rest the joint. If you can, try stopping the most aggravating activities, and avoid activities when you don't have to do them - as in, if there is someone else around that can open the pickle jar, let them do it. Don't hesitate to delegate aggravating activities.

Other helpful treatments are ice/heat, an ace bandage (to help anchor against the pressure from your hand), or one of those tennis elbow straps you see.

Surgery on the area may be useful if symptoms continue to show despite about six months of the non-operative attempts.

Almost everyone who experiences tennis elbow will improve and recover with treatment. So don't give up the game, just rest up a bit, talk to your doctor about some treatment options, and you'll be winning Wimbledon in no time.

Take Care,

Dr. Cordry