Fair Oaks Orthopedics

Stephen W. Pournaras, Jr., MD

Are You Suffering From A Tennis Elbow?

Fair Oaks Orthopedics, Fairfax VA

What Does The Term Tennis Elbow Mean?

A tennis elbow injury happens when the Extensor Carpi Radialis Brevis (ECRB) tendon becomes inflamed by repeated same motion. In medical terms,  “tennis elbow” is the Lateral Epicondyle tendon, which is what secures the ECRB to your elbow joint. The ECRB tendon attaches your forearm muscles to this joint. Those muscles reach all the way down your arm to your wrist and fingers. Overuse of this tendon, often attributed to racquet sports, causes inflamation, irratation and creates most of the time alot of pain. Despite this name, most patients who have a tennis elbow don’t play tennis. They usually have jobs that involve repeated movements leading to tennis elbow injury. In most cases, a tennis elbow condition has no clear cause.

Self Tests For Tennis Elbow
  1. While sitting extend your forearm out in front of you on a table.

  2. Next, apply gentle pressure to the tendon (your lateral epicondyle) and the area above it.

  3. If you feel varying degrees of pain, tenderness, or swelling, it may be time to call us for help.

Always remeber, a tennis elbow is a repetitive motion injury that affects the tendons that attach the forearm muscles to the outside of the elbow and it can often be mistaken for a golfer’s elbow, which affects the tendons on the innermost side of the joint.
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If you are experiencing pain in your elbow and need treatment, please contact us at Fair Oaks Ortho. Dr. Stephen W. Pournaras & our professional medical staff have a great knowledge of the complex network of blood vessels, nerves, muscles, ligaments, tendons, and bones that make up your elbow and arm. We can help you to recover by simply contacting us today.

Your First Appointment

Dr. Pournaras considers many factors while making a diagnosis, including how your symptoms developed, potential occupational risks, and recreational sports involvement.

He will talk to you about what activities could possibly cause your symptoms and where on your arm the pain occurs.  If you have a history of rheumatoid arthritis or nerve disease, these also play a part in your future treatment.

During your initial appointment, Dr. Pournaras will use a variety of tests. For example, asking you to try to straighten your wrist and fingers against resistance with your arm fully straight to see if this causes pain. This often tells him that those muscles may not be healthy.

Tennis Elbow Treatment Fairfax VA

Frequently Asked Questions About Tennis Elbow Injuries

Despite the name “tennis elbow”, atheletes are not the only patients who can get tennis elbow. People whose work or recreational activities  that require the repetitive use of their forearm are prone to this condition as well. Painters, plumbers, and carpenters are people likely to develop tennis elbow. Studies have shown that auto workers, cooks, and even butchers get tennis elbow more often than the rest of the population. It is also thought that the repetition movement and weight lifting required in these occupations, often leads to injury.

Symptoms of a tennis elbow develop over time. In most cases, the pain begins slowly and starts to worsen over time.

There is usually no specific injury that starts these symptoms.

Common signs of a tennis elbow include:

  • Pain or burning on the outer part of your elbow
  • Weak grip or strength
  • Pain at night

The symptoms are often worse with continued forearm activities, such as holding a racquet, turning a wrench, or shaking hands. Generally, your dominant arm is most affected; however, both arms can develop this condition.

Treatment Options For Tennis Elbow Symptoms

  • Limited use and resting your arm from motions that make your symptoms worse.
  • Splints or braces can help to decrease stress on the injured tissues.
  • Applying ice packs on your elbow to reduce swelling.
  • Avoiding activity that increases stress on the tendons.
  • Ultrasound treatment to increase blood flow and promote healing to your injured tendons.
  • Rest and avoid activities that inflame your tennis elbow
  • Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen for pain and swelling reduction
  • Physical therapy can improve mobility, flexibility, and decrease your pain
  • Elbow brace or wrist splint to rest the muscles and tendons affected
  • Corticosteroid injections to relieve more severe symptoms

Repairing a tennis elbow is generally outpatient surgery. It does not require an overnight stay.

On your surgery day, you will be given a sedative to help you relax and feel sleepy. Numbing medicine is then injected into your arm. This will block pain during your surgery.

If you have open surgery, Dr. Pournaras will make one incision on your injured tendon. The unhealthy part of the tendon is cut away. He will repair the tendon using a suture anchor. Or, the injured tendon may be stitched to other tendons. When your surgery is over, the incision is closed with stitches.

Tennis elbow surgery can also be performed by using an arthroscope. This is a thin tube with a tiny camera and light on the end. Before surgery, you will get the same medicine as in open surgery to make you relax and to block any pain.

Dr. Pournaras will then makes some small cuts to insert the scope. This scope is attached to a video monitor. It helps him see inside of your elbow area. Dr. Pournaras will then remove the unhealthy part of your tendon. 


Tennis elbow surgery relieves pain for most patients. Many are able to return to sports and other activities that use their elbow within 4 to 6 months. Continuing the recommended exercise helps to ensure the problem does not return.


Mon 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Tue 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Wed 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Thu 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Fri 8:00 am – 4:30 pm
Sat Closed
Sun Closed

Get In Touch With Us:

For Information Regarding Workers Comp Accidents or Personal Injury, Please send your requests to Cayla Davidson
[email protected]

Phone: 703-591-0077, her extension is 605.
Cayla is Dr. Pournaras’ admin assistant/surgical coordinator.

Fair Oaks Orthopedics

For over 30 years, Virginia Board Certified Physician, Dr. Stephen W. Pournaras, Jr. has provided excellent healthcare and treatment for his patients. As a multi-specialty orthopedic practice, offering the best for you medically to treat, heal and lead you to optimum recovery. We are dedicated to using state-of-the-art technology while building nurturing relationships with each of our patients.

Contact Us Today.

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