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Who gets tennis elbow (other than athletes), how to fix it

HOUSTON – Tennis elbow is very common among athletes, but Houston Methodist said anyone is susceptible to this injury.

Andrea Calhoun is an active cross-fitter who felt the dull pain of tennis elbow getting worse and worse.

“It would hurt most when I would wake up in the morning and then working out. I couldn't do much working out,” Calhoun said. “Totally cramped my style.”

Dr. Evan Collins with Houston Methodist Hospital said a surprising number of moms find themselves in position to get tennis elbow. 

“It's not just lifting the kid, but probably carrying the bag that goes with the kid, getting them in and out of the car seat,” Collins said. 

The recipe for this injury could be things like that heavy lifting in combination with other daily life activities.

“It's in addition to sleeping the wrong way, in addition to starting a new routine and exercise that hasn't been that familiar to you, maybe all of those things together trigger the pain that you get really on the outside of the elbow and it starts off slow sometimes,” Collins explained.

As it progresses, he instructs patients to rest and take over-the-counter pain medicine, but he says a small percentage of people need surgery.

Calhoun had surgery in one elbow years ago. When the pain returned on the other arm, she opted for a newer procedure called Tenex. It's done in the doctor’s office with a small incision, in about 15 minutes, without anesthesia.

“You can stay awake the whole time, you can even watch the procedure if you want to, which I thought was really cool,” Calhoun said.

Tenex was done on her elbow four months ago and she's already back in the gym. Calhoun said her favorite part about this procedure over the traditional surgery was how she didn't need prescription pain medications afterward.

Collins said one thing everyone can do to reduce their chances of tendonitis is to stay hydrated.