What is Tennis Elbow?
Tennis elbow is a fairly common cause of pain of the upper limbs. It is caused by degeneration and tearing of the tendons that attach to the outside of the elbow (the lateral epicondyle of the humerus bone). These tendons come from the forearm muscles that lift the wrist and the fingers up. The medical term for this condition is lateral epicondylitis. Tennis elbow can result in soreness around the outer part of the elbow, and pain that can be increased by even simple activities using the affected arm. This pain may radiate up or down the arm. Activities that might increase the pain include:
– Moving the wrist up.
– Grasping objects with the hand.
– Raising the arm.
– Shake hands.
– Making a fist.
Tennis elbow has been associated with repetitive motions of the arm, or overuse injuries, but, it can also be seen without a history of repetitive motions, especially in middle age patients.
Conventional Treatment for Tennis Elbow
Rest, ice, modification of activities, and use of a forearm band can help in mild cases. Moderate cases of tennis elbow are usually treated first with exercises and physical therapy. Unfortunately, that form of treatment frequently fails. If symptoms persist, then the next treatment usually involves an injection with corticosteroids. This form of treatment is less than ideal. Steroids severely inhibit healing, provide only short term relief of the pain, and has been shown to damage the tendons in the long term, and make the condition worse with repeated treatments.
For patients who fail treatment with physical therapy and corticosteroid injections, orthopedic surgeons sometimes recommend surgery. This surgery may involve debridement of the affected tendon or, it can involve making surgical incisions or cuts into the tendon (tenotomy). Neither form of surgery has shown to be particularly effective. Recent studies have shown surgery to be no more effective than fake surgery (placebo). We have learned that surgery is not the answer for the treatment of tennis elbow.
New Treatment Option
Fortunately, new treatments are emerging. At Regenerative Orthopedic Institute we have had very good results treating tennis elbow using a combination of stem cells from the patient’s own body mixed with platelet rich plasma (PRP). This combination stimulates true healing of the tendon, resulting in an effective alternative for treatment. An alternative that lasts much longer than steroids without causing any further damage to the tendons, and without the unnecessary risks of ineffective surgeries.
Contact us if you have any questions about tennis elbow, or if you are suffering from tennis elbow and would like to know if this new treatment is a good option for you: https://www.regenerativeorthopedicinstitute.com/contact-us/