Tennis Elbow and Treatment Options
Tennis elbow also known as Lateral Epicondylitis occurs when the ligaments of the lateral epicondyle (elbow) is over used by repetitive motions of the arm and wrist, resulting in inflammation. Just as the name states, it is an injury typically seen in an individual that plays tennis, but it is not limited to just tennis players. Tennis elbow can also be seen in other individuals that have an occupation that consists of a lot of arm and wrist movements such as painters, carpenters and plumbers.
Although Tennis elbow consists of extreme elbow pain, it can be easily misdiagnosed as either elbow arthritis, elbow joint instability, or Radial Tunnel Syndrome. The best way to differentiate and determine if you have Tennis elbow or either of these conditions, you should seek medical advice from a physician that specializes in pain management and joint regenerative therapy so that they can properly evaluate you and perform special tests to determine what condition you are suffering from.
Symptoms of Tennis Elbow
When an individual is suffering from Tennis elbow, the level of pain can vary from minimal to significant. And some individuals only experience pain with certain movements or positions. Some symptoms that an individual will experience if they suffer from Tennis Elbow are an aching pain, tenderness to the outer elbow area, inability to lift objects or use their arm, and pain when shaking hands or gripping and turning a door knob.
When to Seek Treatment
You should seek medical treatment when the pain is lasting more than a few days, when you are experiencing any type of swelling or bruising, if you are having an extreme amount of pain when lifting objects, if the pain is so severe that you lose the ability to use your arm and if you are experiencing significant amount of pain when you straighten or bend your arm.
Treatments for Tennis Elbow
In order to get the best treatments for Tennis Elbow, see a pain specialist that will do a full thorough pain evaluation of your elbow and if needed, they can order you an MRI to see the full extent of the cause of the pain. Since Tennis elbow is caused by micro tears of the ligament on the lateral epicondyle, the best treatment for it would be either Prolotherapy and Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP), which are regenerative injection methods that help rebuild and strengthen the ligament where the micro tears are.
- Prolotherapy: Prolotherapy is a regenerative therapy that utilizes Dextrose and a local anesthetic to help promote growth of new collagen and strengthen the existing ligaments. Prolotherapy is affective if the imaging tests show that there has been some tearing of the ligaments in the lateral epicondyle in which will help strengthen and repair the ligament.
- Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP): Platelet Rich Plasma is a method that has been used by many athletes in different sports. Platelet Rich Plasma is a regenerative therapy method that can serve as an alternative to surgery which is more cost effective and more convenient. The process of Platelet Rich Plasma is when a certified care professional draws blood from the patients arm and puts the blood into a centrifuge where the blood will be spun in a rapid speed to separate the growth factors in the blood and the plasma. Once the spinning is finished, the certified care professional will then prepare the shot to be injected to the affected area.