What exactly is tennis elbow?

20 Oct What exactly is tennis elbow?

The word tennis elbow is actually a bit of a misnomer as it is not only tennis players who suffer from the condition. Tennis elbow refers to a chronic tendinitis situation on the outside of one’s elbow at the point where the tendons in charge of extension insert.

In medical lingo it is referred to as lateral epicondylitis. The epicondyle is a piece of bone elbow painon the outside of the elbow, where the extensor tendons insert.

Tennis elbow could also easily be referred to as gardeners elbow or house cleaners elbow, as any repetitive activity involving continuous elbow extension often leads to lateral epicondylitis during middle age.

It actually can be an extremely frustrating condition. It may persist for well over a year, which is very different then the tendinitis situation for a person much younger.

When it comes to treatment of the tendinitis, initial options include oral anti-inflammatories, tennis elbow bracingphysical therapy and bracing. The brace is applied around the forearm and is known as counterforce brace. It stops a lot of the stresses from reaching the inflamed area, often calming it down.
A cortisone injection may be extremely beneficial for pain relief, and it can last for weeks to months at a time. One of the latest available treatments involves platelet rich plasma therapy. Also called PRP therapy, this treatment involves a simple blood draw, with the blood being spun rapidly to concentrate the platelets and growth factors. Injection of the material will often spur healing and provide relief to the tendinitis area.

Thankfully, very few patients end up needing surgery for chronic tennis elbow. The procedure involves cleaning out the inflamed tendon area, and then reattachment of those tendons. There is a decent failure rate, so surgery should be avoided if it all possible.

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