By Dr. Shaival Chauhan, Orthopaedics
Tennis elbow refers to the medical condition wherein the tendons of the elbow are in pain and discomfort due to being overworked. This is a very common sports injury and happens due to the repetitive use of the forearm and elbow in games like tennis and cricket. Even outside the sport field, this condition develops in people like plumbers and butchers, as their professions involve repeated heavy use of the forearm and elbow.
The condition develops fully when the tendons of the forearm attach to the bony patches present on the outside of the elbow.
Symptoms of the condition: When to understand definitively you have tennis elbow?
These are the various symptoms by which it can be detected-
- Discomfort in shaking hands
- Discomfort in using the hands for turning motions, like rotating a doorknob
- Gripping objects, like a teacup
Treatment of tennis elbow: How can orthopedics help?
There are both surgical and non-surgical orthopedic procedures to get relief from tennis elbow. Both these procedures have significant merits.
Non-surgical treatment procedures:
There are a number of methods that can help you get relief from the pain and discomfort tennis elbow causes, which do not involve surgery as well. These methods include reducing activities that put stress on your forearms for a stipulated amount of time. You can try using cold packs or cortisone injections on the affected area, and practice exercises that stretch the forearm muscles. Also, you can try using straps and braces for your forearms to better support the area.
Surgical treatment procedures:
This is recommended only in certain exclusive cases. It may be that your condition has worsened very much, so much so that it is not responding to non-surgical treatment. It may also be that the pain and discomfort are not allowing you to perform activities that are an integral part of your normal, daily life. In such cases, surgery is recommended and required.
The mode of surgery performed is called arthroscopic surgery, and is performed through one small or several small incisions, so as to be very minimally invasive.
In open surgery, where only one cut is made on the skin, the cut is made above the elbow bone. Then, the diseased part of the tendon is removed from the bone, and the healthy part is re-attached in contrast.
In arthroscopic surgery, where multiple cuts are made, surgical probes are inserted, along with cameras. The surgery is then performed.
In either case, the area is covered with dressing after surgery, and anesthetics are either administered or not, depending on the severity of your case and the ensuing complication of the surgery required. It also depends on your personal medical history.
Tennis elbow is a common injury that can either be very minor or severe. In most cases, orthopedic treatment can help. The methods employed to treat you can either be non-surgical, and involve cold compresses and elbow supports. Or, surgery can be required if your case gets really serious and difficult to manage through common medication. In any case, if you have this condition, you should check with a doctor as soon as possible.