Tennis elbow is an inflammatory complication in which you feel pain outside the elbow. It can occur in any age group but is most common in people between 35 and 50 and affects women and men equally. The treatment plan for this complication includes rest and physiotherapy, but in cases where the disease lasts a long time, the option of surgery may be considered.
Designing a unique rehabilitation program and, if necessary, performing orthopedic surgery using the latest and most advanced techniques can help you treat tennis elbow.
Causes and Reasons of Tennis Elbow
Tennis elbow (inflammation of the lateral epicondyle) is an inflammatory complication that affects the lateral condyle on the outer surface of the elbow. A similar complication involving the medial epicondyle on the inner surface of the elbow is known as the golfer’s elbow.
Complications of lateral epicondylitis have been called tennis elbows, but this name is misleading because most people with this complication are not tennis players. The epicondyles are the masses of bone that you can feel on either elbow side. The muscles that give the wrist to bend backward are attached to the lateral epicondyle by strong tendons.
Any repeated activity that puts pressure on the forearm muscles, especially the external muscles, can lead to small tears in the tendon tissue, increasing over time. These tears rupture the tendons and muscles and cause pain. These ruptures usually occur at the junction of the tendons to the bone and sometimes on the bone sheath.
Activities that may lead to Tennis elbow disease include:
- Excessive use of the elbow: Repeated movements such as twisting the elbow can cause tiny tears in the tendons and lead to their weakness. Excessive use may take the form of prolonged activity or strenuous activity.
- How to do the activities: For example, a person may hold a device or tool incorrectly.
- Improper equipment: For example, a person may use ultra-heavy equipment when exercising or use inappropriate weights for her hand.
- Accidents: A direct blow to the elbow (lateral epicondyle) or falling on an open hand can cause this complication.
- Hammering (such as carpentry)
- Tennis (especially backstroke)
Signs and symptoms of Tennis Elbow
Pain felt in the outer area of the elbow is the most common symptom of tennis elbow and is usually described as “burning.” Touching the elbow may provoke pain, or pain may spread to the forearm. The pain usually increases with squeezing or twisting the wrist and forearm. Bending and straightening the elbow can also make the pain worse.
The pain usually starts mildly and gets worse over weeks or months. The severity of the pain can range from mild discomfort to severe pain that interferes with sleep. If this complication is chronic (long-term), you may also experience difficulty grasping objects.
Tennis Elbow Diagnosis
The doctor tries to recur the elbow pain with unique movements during the physical examination. They may also measure the range of motion of the wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints. X-ray and ultrasound imaging may also aid in the diagnosis process and rule out other possible causes of pain.
Tennis Elbow Treatment
In most cases of tennis elbow (between 90% and 95%), a combination of several non-surgical treatments will work. It would be best to avoid activities that aggravate the pain during treatment, and the elbow should be rested. Of course, you should note that you should maintain the gentle movement of the elbow and forearm in the full range of motion.
Other essential treatments include the following:
- Ice. Apply ice to the outer surface of your elbow 2-3 times a day.
- Anti-inflammatory drugs. Use nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen, naproxen and aspirin.
- Cortisone injection. Cortisone is a steroid drug that can effectively reduce pain and inflammation. Your doctor may also inject cortisone and an anesthetic around the junction of the bone and the tendon.
- Tennis elbow brace. Special braces for the wrist and forearm may be prescribed to support and relax the forearm. You cover When the upper part of the forearm, the brace reduces some of the pressure on the muscles.
- Elbow bandage by stretching straps. The use of stretch marks (Kinesio tapes), which are thin, elastic bands, can be effective in healing many injuries and inflammatory complications. These strips are almost similar to human skin in terms of thickness and elasticity, making it possible to use them without any movement restrictions.
- Massage. Soft tissue massage is a special type of massage whose benefits include relaxing muscles, strengthening blood and lymph flow, accelerating the healing process of stretched ligaments and muscle tissue, reducing joint inflammation, and reducing heart rate.
- Acupressure. Acupuncture can be used to reduce hypertension in the elbow muscles.
- Electrotherapy. Electrotherapy is one of the methods of relieving pain and reducing inflammation, which causes temporary relief from pain and allows the person to perform his activities as painlessly as possible until the cause of pain disappears.
- External wave therapy (shock wave therapy)
- External shock wave therapy is a treatment for soft tissue injuries. The sound waves transmitted into the elbow enhance the body’s healing capacity.
- Stretching and strengthening exercises.
- As elbow pain decreases, the muscles surrounding the joint should be stretched and strengthened. If the pain persists after six to eight weeks of treatment, your doctor may prescribe cortisone injections into the affected area. A physiotherapist can guide you in choosing these exercises.
- Open surgery. In some cases, such surgery may be needed due to the limited visibility of arthroscope cameras versus open surgery. If you have open surgery to treat a tennis elbow (Tennis elbow), you will have to wait much longer for recovery.
Rehabilitation after Surgery
Postoperative rehabilitation activities include rest, exercise, and careful treatment to help you recover. No two rehabilitation programs are alike. The length of time it takes to complete a rehabilitation program depends on the amount of injury before surgery, the type of surgery performed, and the amount of activity and health you have before surgery. How successful you are in a rehabilitation program depends on how much you work with your doctor and physiotherapist and how you manage your recovery at home daily.