Jock Doc

Elbow pain often means overuse, rehab necessary

Q. I continue to have pain on the outside part of my elbow. I like to lift weights and I also work as a secretary and the pain has been there for two months. If I rest it, it helps but as soon as I work out or do a lot of writing or work on the computer the pain comes back.

What should I do to get it better?

A. The pain on the outside part of the elbow is most commonly an overuse injury known as lateral epicondylitis or better known as tennis elbow. All the muscles that let you straighten your wrist out, straighten your fingers out and bring your hand palm up start as a tendon that attaches to the bone on the outside part of the elbow. When this tendon is irritated, it is usually slow to heal and can stay sore for an extended period of time.

Although commonly associated with tennis, it can be associated with any form or overuse. Weight training, computer work, or even carrying a lot of packages around the holidays can produce these symptoms.

I recommend that you see an orthopedic surgeon or upper extremity specialist for evaluation of your elbow. These problems can usually be treated with anti-inflammatory medication, and a physical therapy program. An exercise program has to be done pain free to prevent recurrent symptoms.

For patients who do not get better with rehab and anti-inflammatory medication, occasionally a Cortisone shot or other forms of treatment may be necessary to get this condition better.

There are other causes of pain on the outside part of the elbow such as a ligament sprain, stress fracture, or muscle injury so I do recommend that you see your physician so you can get back to enjoying your workouts as quickly as possible.

Dr. Harlan Selesnick is team physician of the Miami Heat and director of Miami Sports Medicine Fellowship, Doctors Hospital. Send your questions to

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