Tennis Elbow and Extensor Carpi Radialis Tendon Surgeon

Do you regularly participate in sports like tennis, racquet sports or activities that require repetitive elbow motions? If so, you are at an elevated risk of developing a condition known as tennis elbow. Tennis elbow or lateral epicondylitis can cause damage to the extensor carpi radialis tendon. Athletes experiencing pain on the outer side of the elbow that worsens with activity need to see an orthopedic elbow specialist. Tennis elbow and extensor carpi radialis tendon repair surgeon, Doctor Riley J. Williams provides diagnosis and both surgical and nonsurgical treatment options for patients in Manhattan, Brooklyn, New York City and surrounding areas who have symptoms of a torn extensor carpi radialis tendon. Contact Dr. Williams’ team today!

What is tennis elbow?

Tennis elbow is classified as inflammation or micro-tearing of the tendons that secure one of the muscles in the forearm to the outer side of the elbow. Sports such as tennis, or other activities where the elbow is overused are common causes of this injury. The extensor capri radialis brevis (ECRB) muscle is typically affected. The tendon origin of the ECRB on the lateral elbow is where the inflammation and tearing phenomena occur in association with symptomatic tennis elbow. The ECRB muscle is responsible for extending the wrist during routine and athletic activities. Activities that require repetitive wrist extension (tennis back-hand stroke, use of a computer mouse) predispose individuals to this condition. Such overuse injuries cause small tears in the ECRB tendon. This in turn causes pain and inflammation.

Tennis Elbow | Manhattan NY

What is tennis elbow (extensor carpi radialis tendon) repair?

Extensor carpi radialis tendon tears that do not respond to conservative measure may require repair; ECRB tendon repair is also known as tennis elbow repair. Most surgical procedures for tennis elbow will take place after approximately 6 months of failed conservative treatment. Options such as rest, oral medications, bracing, steroid injections, platelet-rich plasma injections and physical therapy are typically employed before opting for surgical repair of the ECRB tendon. During the procedure, diseased tendon is removed, and the healthy tendon tissue is reattached to the bone. Dr. Riley J. Williams, orthopedic elbow surgeon, serving Manhattan, Brooklyn, New York City, NY and surrounding areas, has extensive experience in elbow surgeries involving extensor carpi radialis tendon repair.

How is tennis elbow repair performed?

Extensor carpi radialis tendon repair will be performed surgically using one of two methods: open or arthroscopic. Both treatment methods are done in an outpatient setting, which means that the surgery does not require an overnight stay in the hospital. Open surgery involves the use of a small incision over the elbow to complete the repair; this is the preferred method. Arthroscopic surgery involves the use of small instruments and small incisions in the elbow. A small camera, called an arthroscope, is used in the incision to project the images inside the elbow onto a monitor for Dr. Williams to visualize the tendons and to perform the tennis elbow repair.

What are the risks of tennis elbow repair?

All operations will come with an inherent risk. The rare risk factors for extensor carpi radialis tendon repair may include:

  • Infection
  • Continued pain after surgery
  • Inability to fully straighten the arm
  • Loss of strength
  • Loss of flexibility

How long is recovery after tennis elbow repair?

Once the extensor carpi radialis tendon is repaired, patients go home the same day. The arm is splinted to immobilize the injury for the first week following surgery. The splint is typically removed after one week. Exercises will then be employed to regain movement and flexibility before gradually adding strength training to the patient’s recovery regimen. Dr. Williams will monitor the progress; it is common for patients to return to athletic activities four to six months after surgery. Tennis elbow repair surgery has a high success rate of 80-90%. Proper rehabilitation is necessary to reduce the risk of strength loss.

For additional resources on tennis elbow repair or extensor carpi radialis tendon repair and to have your elbow pain evaluated, please contact the office of Dr. Riley J. Williams, MD, orthopedic elbow surgeon serving Manhattan, Brooklyn, New York City, NY and surrounding areas.


HSS Sports Medicine Institute West Side
610 W 58th Street
New York, NY 10019

HSS Brooklyn
148 39th Street, 7th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11232

Office Hours

Monday-Friday: 9:00 am – 4:30 pm
Fax: 212-774-2895