As I sit here typing this I am reminded of one of the most common reasons for elbow pain – repetitive use…and overuse! What is Tennis Elbow? How is the condition treated?
Although Tennis Elbow is a condition aptly named after one of the common causes, you don’t have to be an athlete to develop this condition. Many of us are desk jockeys, spending much of our time using a mouse and keyboard, while others wield a hammer in construction. With all who develop the condition, the issue usually boils down to overuse of the arm and hand that may involve repetitive use and twisting.
What is Tennis Elbow?
The medical name Lateral Epicondylitis occurs when there is inflammation or injury of ligaments and tendons that attach at several bony protuberances along the outside of the elbow. This are is called the lateral epicondyle which is part of the humerus. The muscles that are commonly injured include the extensor carpi radialis brevis and longus and the brachioradialis muscles. These muscles allow us to extend and rotate the forearm and wrist when grasping and twisting (pronation and supination) doing activities such as hammering nails, twisting and opening jars, opening doors, and of course, tennis!
This common problem can cause pain that may last a month or longer, resolve with rest, and recur when the aggravating activity is resumed. This can certainly be frustrating when you are trying to work at home and or your job. If left untreated patients can develop weakness of the tendon (tendinopathy) as well as surrounding ligaments, and loss of function and range of motion can occur.
How Is Tennis elbow treated?
There are many methods of treatment, the most common being rest, ice, anti-inflammatory medications, steroid injections, band bracing, and physical therapy with focus on strengthening and muscle re-education. These traditional methods are designed to reduce inflammation but often the pain returns. At CHARM we use different solutions such as prolotherapy or biological products from your own body including Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) and Stem Cells to treat Tennis Elbow. How do we do this? Platelets processed from a person’s blood or stem cells taken from bone marrow are processed in our in-house lab. They are then injected into the injured ligaments and tendons of the elbow by one of our highly trained practitioners with the guidance of x-ray or ultrasound. The injection of these blood products into the damaged tissues activates the body’s healing response through inflammation to increase blood flow and other processes that regenerate and rebuild these tissues. Our providers at CHARM are specialized in musculoskeletal treatment and can help you return to the activities that you are missing out on, even tennis!