Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow Treatment
KSF Orthopaedic Center offers treatment for tennis and golfer’s elbow, a condition on and around the bony prominence outside the elbow.
What Is Tennis and Golfer’s Elbow?
- Epicondylitis is an irritation or inflammation of the tendons around the elbow joint.
- Tennis Elbow (lateral epicondylitis) is a painful condition on and around the bony prominence (epicondyle) on the outside (lateral side) of the elbow. Pain may radiate down the arm. Gripping or extending the wrist may intensify the problem.
- Golfer’s elbow (medial epicondylitis) is a similar condition. However, the pain focus is the knobby bump on the elbows inside closest to the body (the medial side).
Both tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow typically result from repetitive arm movement and more often occur due to everyday activity rather than golfing or tennis playing. Over-using the muscles in the arm can lead to tiny tears (microtears) in the tendons that attach the muscles in the forearms to the epicondyles. If the activity is continued without allowing the tears to heal, the tendons can become inflamed and very painful.
- This condition can be caused by excessive use of the arm. For example, in long sessions practicing your golf swing or tennis stroke, it is more often the result of other everyday activities, including painting, raking, pitching, rowing, hammering, and using a screwdriver.
Symptoms of Lateral or Medial Epicondylitis
- Pain and discomfort while moving the elbow (and sometimes at rest) – to the outside of the elbow if tennis elbow and the inside of the elbow if golfer’s elbow.
- Pain radiating down the forearm and possibly weakness in the wrist.
Causes of Lateral or Medial Epicondylitis
- Overuse, repetitive activity is engaging the elbow joint.
- Lifting a heavy object
- To diagnose epicondylitis, a thorough examination is performed. This exam includes X-rays and possibly an electromyogram (EMG) to test nerve and muscle function.
KSF Orthopaedic Center offers Platelet-Rich Plasma (PRP) injections for the treatment of medial and lateral epicondylitis. PRP stimulates more rapid healing of the tendon, ligament, muscle, and bone. We are also among the orthopedic specialists in Houston who offer less invasive OssaTron ESW (extracorporeal shockwave) therapy to treat chronic tennis elbow. If symptoms persist despite conservative treatment, surgery may be recommended by your physician.
- Rest, allowing the micro-tears to heal.
- If the injury is sports-related, technique and equipment should be examined.
- Breaks during work or play avoid activities or movements that cause pain (heavy lifting, pushing, or pulling should be limited).
- Ice Pack to the affected area (not directly on the skin) for approximately 20 minutes three times a day to decrease inflammation and pain.
- Anti-inflammatory medication, an oral medication to help relieve inflammation and pain.
- Steroid injection, a locally acting injection to help decrease inflammation and pain.
- Counterforce brace (elbow cuff) worn during the day to help support the inflamed tendon.
- Cock-up wrist splint (wrist brace) worn during the night to help rest the tendon.
- Physical Therapy (three times a week for approximately six weeks) initially decreases pain and inflammation and maintains muscle strength, and ongoing to increase strength and endurance.