Tennis elbow is a painful condition where the tendons around the elbow become damaged from overuse.
What are the symptoms?
Most patients with Tennis elbow complain of pain in the elbow itself which radiates down the back of the forearm to the hand and/or weakness in gripping. You may be tender over the elbow itself and pushing your arm against something may cause pain.
What investigations are carried out?
This would depend on where and how long you have your symptoms, as most patients can be diagnosed with their symptomatic history. However, some patients may require some scans, for example if you are arthritic and elderly then we might carry out an x-ray, or an ultrasound to see if there is any inflammation.
We can also carry out an MRI on the elbow to take a closer look at the surrounding cartilage.
Do I have to play tennis to get tennis elbow?
You don’t have to play tennis in order to get tennis elbow.
The condition is triggered by doing a lot of activity in a short period of time which puts strain on the tendon such as building something or lifting heavy weight. It can also come on over a period of time.
What are my treatment options?
It is best to avoid the activity that causes the pain, rest and use anti-inflammatories to begin with. We can also use injections. The first type of injection is steroid which is mainly used for pain relief shot term.
The other type of injection uses your own blood which is removed from your arm and injected around the tendon so there is a concentration of platelets which accelerate the healing process.
However, if after 6 months these treatments are not working we can look at surgery. We create a small incision over the outside of the elbow and remove the damaged area of the tendon.
Most people are able to drive by 2 weeks, do simple lifting by 4-6 weeks and heavy lifting by 6 weeks to 3 months. 90% of patients are pleased with this type of operation after they have tried all of the other treatment options.