Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a painful condition of the elbow. This occurs when there is inflammation of the tendons that are attached to the bone on the outside (lateral) part of the elbow. These tendons join the forearm muscles that help straighten and stabilize the wrist. These forearm muscles become damaged from overuse, which can happen from repeating the same motion over and over again. This is why tennis and other racquet sports are often associated with this condition.
There are several non-surgical treatments available for tennis elbow.
Rest: It is important to decrease or even stop any activity that could be contributing to this condition. Modifying your activities can make a difference by changing techniques and even the size of the equipment.
Anti-inflammatory medication: These medications are used to help bring down the inflammation and eliminate pain.
Bracing: Requires a band that can be worn over the forearm muscle right below the elbow, which helps reduce tension allowing the tendon to heal.
Steroid injections: A strong anti-inflammatory injected directly into the area to reduce inflammation and pain.
If symptoms last longer than 6 to 12 months, it is time to consider looking at surgical options. The Fitzmaurice Hand Institute offers the minimally-invasive EndoTech® Tennis Elbow Release. During this procedure the inflamed tissue is debrided using a very small incision. The tight bands over the muscles are then released using a specially designed endoscopic instrument. Platelet rich plasma (PRP) treatment is often used in conjunction with this for better results. A small amount of blood is removed from the patient and spun down using a machine (centrifuge). This provides a concentrated source of PRP that is then injected into the area where there is poor blood supply. The tissues are then supplied with growth factors and other healing properties that significantly increase the healing process of the tendons.
Studies have shown that this remarkable visualization significantly decreases surgical risks, with zero complications to date in over 4000 procedures performed. EndoTech® results in the least amount of pain and fastest recovery compared to other surgical techniques. This allows for a much higher success rate and a greater overall patient outcome.