Bilateral Elbow Pain, what should I do?

Patient

Q: I have been experiencing bilateral elbow pain for the last 4-6 weeks. The pain is located on the top of the outside of my elbows. This hurts to touch and also when gripping and lifting (Like when lifting a glass to drink)It is beginning to be painful while just extending and not lifting. The pain is worse in the mornings. I am otherwise a healthy 43 year old male. I take no medications but I am using nicotine lozenges for 11 months to quit tobacco. I also was treated for Lyme's disease approx 3 years ago.

Doctor

A:   The reason you could be experiencing lateral elbow pain is most probably due to lateral epicondylitis also called tennis elbow. The probable cause would be due to repetitive movements of the hand and wrist resulting in pain and inflammation at the site where the muscles are attached to the bone at the elbow joint. Diagnosis of tennis elbow is mainly by physical examination and x-ray will provide little information. I would suggest that you give rest to the affected joint and avoiding lifting or grasping heavy objects. Applying ice and NSAIDS will provide relief.  Lifestyle modifications, physical therapy and muscle strengthening exercises may prevent further progression of the disease. In rare cases corticosteroid injections and surgery may be advised.

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