Through our day-to-day activities, our elbows are subjected to significant repetitive loads and demands. The most common cause of elbow pain related to overuse is known as lateral epicondylitis or tennis elbow. This is a painful condition in which the tendons that help extend our fingers, wrist and hand degenerate at their site of attachment to the outside of the elbow.
With tennis elbow, people most often experience pain on the outside of the elbow with difficulty lifting and grasping. Symptoms are usually aggravated by repetitive use. Treatment of this problem is first targeted at reducing any painful inflammation in the elbow. Anti-inflammatory pills (Motrin, Alleve), elbow bracing, and a palms-up lifting technique are typically combined to treat tennis elbow. A tailored physical therapy protocol may be used to help stretch and strengthen the elbow. Most cases of tennis elbow will improve with this type of treatment. However, if symptoms are still persistent, a cortisone injection may be used. This is a strong anti-inflammatory medicine given in the area of tendon inflammation.
Surgical treatment of tennis elbow is considered if symptoms do not improve with the above listed treatments. In this procedure a small incision is made over the outside of the elbow. The degenerated portion of the tendon is excised and the healthy portion of the tendon is repaired to the attachment site with bone anchors. Elbow arthroscopy may be used to address additional pathology in the elbow when necessary. Patients return home the same day as surgery in a soft dressing over the elbow and can immediately start moving the elbow.
Dr. Nigro offers minimally invasive Tenex tennis elbow surgery. Visit tenexhealth.com for more information.
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