Q: I have had pain on the outside of my right elbow for three months. It bothers me when I work out, shake hands or type on the computer. I tried resting my elbow and taking ibuprofen, but the pain has not gone away. It is frustrating. Any advice?
A: The muscles that let you straighten out your wrist and fingers start as a tendon that attaches to the outside of the elbow. This tendon, known as the extensor carpi radialis brevis, may have a poor microcirculation at its attachment point to the lateral epicondyle — which means that blood supply to that area is limited.
This is commonly an overuse injury seen in working out, carrying briefcases, working on the computer and racquet sports. This overuse condition is known as “tennis elbow,” even though most patients with the condition do not play tennis.
Treatment usually consists of an anti-inflammatory medication and physical therapy. If this is ineffective, the next step in treatment is usually a cortisone injection. Most patients will get better after these various treatments.
Modification of your workout program in an effort to help the elbow strengthen the affected muscles without getting the elbow sore is important to prevent recurrent symptoms.