TENNIS ELBOW / LATERAL EPICONDYLITIS


Tennis elbow is the most common reason for elbow pain affecting the young and old. The medical name is lateral epicondylitis, which incorrectly refers to an inflammatory condition of the lateral condyle where all the extensor muscles of the forearm attach. The inflammation bit in the name (“itis”) is partly true, although our latest understanding suggests more of a degenerative condition involving the part of the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle that attaches to the bone.

This condition therefore, is probably more of a complex degenerative condition involving the tendon attachment, the bone and part of the elbow joint. It presents with very well localised pain on the outside part of the elbow and the sufferer of this condition can usually pinpoint the pain to a very specific point. Pain is activity related and might also advance to an aching and burning sensation at rest.

The treatment options are multiple and it is thought that the outcome is very much the same irrespective of all the different interventions. The non-surgical interventions include anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, iontophoresis (delivering medication like anti-inflammatory drugs through the skin with electrical charges), injection of autologous blood products, injection of glycosaminoglycan, physiotherapy and different forms of elbow braces and forearm based wrist splints.

Of all these, steroid injections are the most commonly used with a success rate of more than 90%, however recurrence of the original pain is seen in one of four patients (25%).

Surgical intervention becomes an option after conservative measures have been exhausted. There are multiple procedures, all with the common theme of excising the degenerative tissue and to establish a healthy environment at the attachment of the extensor muscles.

 

TENNIS ELBOW / LATERAL EPICONDYLITIS


Tennis elbow is the most common reason for elbow pain affecting the young and old. The medical name is lateral epicondylitis, which incorrectly refers to an inflammatory condition of the lateral condyle where all the extensor muscles of the forearm attach. The inflammation bit in the name (“itis”) is partly true, although our latest understanding suggests more of a degenerative condition involving the part of the extensor carpi radialis brevis muscle that attaches to the bone. This condition therefore, is probably more of a complex degenerative condition involving the tendon attachment, the bone and part of the elbow joint. It presents with very well localised pain on the outside part of the elbow and the sufferer of this condition can usually pinpoint the pain to a very specific point. Pain is activity related and might also advance to an aching and burning sensation at rest.

The treatment options are multiple and it is thought that the outcome is very much the same irrespective of all the different interventions. The non-surgical interventions include anti-inflammatory medication, steroid injections, iontophoresis (delivering medication like anti-inflammatory drugs through the skin with electrical charges), injection of autologous blood products, injection of glycosaminoglycan, physiotherapy and different forms of elbow braces and forearm based wrist splints. Of all these, steroid injections are the most commonly used with a success rate of more than 90%, however recurrence of the original pain is seen in one of four patients (25%).

Surgical intervention becomes an option after conservative measures have been exhausted. There are multiple procedures, all with the common theme of excising the degenerative tissue and to establish a healthy environment at the attachment of the extensor muscles.

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