AT BEL AIR CENTER FOR PLASTIC AND HAND
Tennis elbow, or golfer’s elbow, also known as Lateral Epicondylitis is a painful condition that often occurs with the type of repetitive elbow motion seen in tennis players or during golf swings. Other activities can also cause the pain and inflammation that’s associated with tennis elbow. For men and women who want to get back in the game, a number of treatments are available to help.
Lateral Epicondylitis is a type of tendon injury that’s diagnosed when the tendons that join the forearm muscles to the outside of the elbow become inflamed. This makes normal elbow movement painful. Despite the name, tennis elbow can develop in nearly anyone who makes repeated, vigorous elbow movements such as painters, carpenters or cooks. Sometimes, the symptoms are diagnosed even without repetitive motion to cause the inflammation. Although it can occur at any age, tennis elbow occurs most often between the ages of 30 and 50.
The symptoms of tennis elbow include localized pain in the outside of the elbow. This pain often develops slowly over time, and isn’t related to hand or wrist injuries. The pain often worsens without treatment and in response activity. Tennis elbow can also cause muscle weakness when gripping. Although most often seen in the dominant arm, the symptoms may be present on either or both sides of the body.
Understanding Tennis Elbow
Most cases of tennis elbow go away on their own, or with conservative treatments. There are several options for addressing the symptoms:
Over-the-counter medication like ibuprofen can reduce inflammation as well as pain.
Hand therapy can help men and women learn to move in ways that help reduce stress on the affected area rather than aggravating it.
A splint or brace can help support the elbow to limit tendon and muscle strain through the injured area.
Steroid injections in limited cases may be able to provide an acceptable treatment.
If these options don’t help, you may be a candidate for surgery to remove the affected muscle and reattach the healthy portion of the muscle to the bone. Surgery is often performed traditionally (open surgery).
Recovery and Results
After surgery, the arm is kept in a splint to ensure proper alignment of muscles and tendons during healing. After the splint is removed, physical therapy is an important part of recovery to ensure full range of motion. Light exercise is resumed as early as a few weeks after surgery, although more vigorous activities should wait until the elbow is fully healed.
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