Conditions + Treatments

Tennis Elbow in Children

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Tennis elbow is an injury to the tendons attaching the forearm muscles to the outer part of the elbow. This injury comes from repetitive stress — in other words, a simple physical activity repeated over and over again, such as:

  • using a manual screwdriver
  • painting
  • raking
  • and, yes, playing tennis

How Boston Children's Hospital approaches tennis elbow

Most tennis elbow injuries are initially treated with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen or naproxen. NSAIDs should not be used for an extended period of time because they may cause internal bleeding in the stomach. About 10 percent of cases of tennis elbow are bad enough to require surgery, which has usually involved trimming or detaching/re-attaching the inflamed tendon. Children's is one of a few centers in the world that uses platelet-rich plasma to help the tendons heal themselves. Furthermore, since tennis elbow is a repetitive stress injury, doctors at Children's can help your child carry on with his or her activities in a way that won't tire or hurt his or her elbow.

The future of pediatrics will be forged by thinking differently, breaking paradigms and joining together in a shared vision of tackling the toughest challenges before us.”
- Sandra L. Fenwick, President and CEO
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