What do Venus Williams and Chef Chris Siversen Have in Common? Tennis Elbow!

Winter is coming to a close, and that means back to playing tennis in Atlanta. But if you’re experiencing lingering pain from lateral epicondylitis (tennis elbow), you may need to be patient awhile longer.   A few things you should know about this condition:  One, whether you have lingering pain that started last season or you suffered an injury during the holidays, healing tennis elbow can take time. Two, although it is called tennis elbow, it is actually an overuse injury that is shared by many people who don’t play tennis.  As a matter of fact, most people get it from other activities that work the same muscles in the forearm, wrist and fingers repetitively.  This may include working on an assembly line, gardening or food preparation.

Tennis elbow is a soreness or pain on the outer part of the elbow. It happens when you damage the tendons that connect the muscles of your forearm to your elbow. Because areas around tendons receive less blood flow, the healing process is slow.  The pain may spread down your arm to your wrist. If you don't treat the injury, it may hurt to do simple things like turn a key or open a door.

If you’re experiencing this condition, there are many things you can do on your own to aid in healing.  These may include: 

  1. Think RICE Twice a Day:  Rest, Ice, Compress, Elevate.
  2. Stretch it:  Follow these five easy-to-remember, simple stretching exercises:   https://www.healthline.com/health/fitness-exercise/tennis-elbow-rehab
  3. Use a counterforce brace – available to purchase on Amazon and at most sporting goods stores:
  4. Over-the-counter, non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (like Advil or Aleve) will help ease the pain.

If you still have not found relief, call us at 404-255-5595.  We recommend the following treatment options that are available at Perimeter Orthopaedics:

  1. Physical Therapy
  2. Shockwave therapy:  Shockwave therapy sends sound waves to the elbow. These sound waves create "micro trauma" that promote the body's natural healing processes.
  3. PRP (Platelet-rich Plasma) Injections:  These injections use the patient’s blood to create a concentration of platelets and proteins called growth factors that are injected in and around the elbow area. This increases blood flow to the tendons in the elbow. PRP has been shown to help the body heal faster from many injuries, including tennis elbow.
  4. Corticosteroid injections:  Steroids, such as cortisone, are very effective anti-inflammatory medicines. Your doctor may decide to inject your damaged muscle with a steroid to relieve your symptoms.
  5. Surgery:  Generally surgery may be recommended if symptoms don’t respond after 6 to 12 months.  While the traditional surgery involved a sizable incision and long recovery, more recent surgical advances allow the surgeon to do the procedure under ultrasound guidance using a small incision which is less than a centimeter in length.  The procedure can be done under local anesthetic or a light sedation and is done on an outpatient basis.  No braces are required and you have use of the arm right away with the only restriction of avoiding prolonged or strenuous use for a few weeks after the procedure.  

Learn more about tennis elbow and treatments on our website or at https://orthoinfo.aaos.org/en/diseases--conditions/tennis-elbow-lateral-epicondylitis.

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