Serving Relief: Modern Treatments for Tennis Elbow

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Understanding Lateral Epicondylitis

Lateral epicondylitis, frequently dubbed "tennis elbow," is characterized by the inflammation or micro-tearing of the tendon that connects our forearm muscles to our elbow. This tendon, the extensor carpi radialis brevis (ECRB), plays a pivotal role in our forearm's extension and abduction. Continued overuse, without timely intervention, can lead to lingering pain in the area for up to 2 years. Typical symptoms include swelling, pain, and tenderness in the region of micro-tears, alongside general weakness which can impact one's ability to grasp objects or maneuver the affected arm.

A Sporty Affliction: Who's at Risk?

Though its name highlights tennis players, especially due to the strain from backhand strokes, lateral epicondylitis isn't exclusive to the tennis court. Sports like pickle-ball, racquetball, javelin, baseball, and cricket can also strain the ECRB tendon, leading to micro-tearing. Beyond the realm of sports, frequent users of equipment demanding repetitive forearm movement, like paintbrushes and power tools, are also at risk. Both genders are susceptible, with those aged between 30 to 50 most commonly diagnosed.

Navigating the Treatment Landscape: From Court to Cure

The primary objective for managing tennis elbow treatment  is to expedite healing while diminishing inflammation. Various therapeutic interventions aim to alleviate symptoms and forestall recurrence. 

  • Physical therapy and Coaching: For athletes, particularly tennis players, refining one's form can make a significant difference. Incorrect racquet grip or an errant backhand can amplify stress, necessitating improved coaching, practice, or even physical therapy. 
  • PRP Treatments: A recent frontrunner in the treatment sphere is platelet-rich plasma (PRP). By injecting a concentration of growth-factor-rich plasma into the affected region, PRP can potentially rejuvenate muscle and tendon tissue. Premier versions of PRP, such as Regenexx Super Concentrated Platelets (SCP), can be a particularly effective treatment option. 
  • Extracorporeal Shockwave Therapy (ESWT): Targeting damaged or scarred tissue, ESWT uses acoustic waves to promote healthy tissue growth, making it a suitable option for severe tendon or muscle damage. 
  • Rest and Immobilization: Halting the aggravating activity is paramount. Continued strain risks progressing to tendinosis, a more severe tendon tear. A combination of rest, ice, and heat applications can reduce swelling. In some cases, a splint may be recommended to immobilize the area, with NSAIDs often prescribed for pain relief.

You: 1, Tennis Elbow: Love

Given the protracted recovery and discomfort associated with tennis elbow, prevention is key. Ensuring ergonomic equipment usage, adopting correct grips, and frequent breaks can help reduce strain on the ECRB tendon. Warming up, especially stretching the ECRB muscle before engaging in high-intensity activities, is strongly advised.

Should you suspect signs of lateral epicondylitis, it's imperative to consult a licensed healthcare provider. Early diagnosis and intervention can halt the progression of tendon damage. Consider booking a consultation with Dr. Kohler at Ospina Medical for top-tier medical guidance and state-of-the-art treatments like Regenexx PRP tailored to manage and alleviate symptoms associated with lateral epicondylitis.

Written By: Shrujin Shah

Edited By: Camden Rowe

* All information subject to change. Images may contain models. Individual results are not guaranteed and may vary.