The elbow joint is where the upper arm bone (humerus) meets the two lower arm bones (radius and ulna). It is a common site for sporting and overuse injuries commonly known as tennis elbow and golfer’s elbow.
Tennis elbow is a common overuse injury and is also known as lateral epicondylitis. (Golfers elbow is known asmedial epicondylitis). Pain is felt over the bony prominence on the outside of the elbow, this is the lateral epicondyle of the humerus (upper arm bone). The extensor muscles in the forearm are connected by thecommon extensor tendon over this point. Pain is due to inflammation and tiny tears in this tendon at the attachment on the elbow. Tennis elbow is made worse with any repetitive wrist extension movements (bending the wrist back), activities including gardening, typing, painting and playing musical instruments - not just tennis. Diagnosis is clinical and patients tend to have a burning pain that gradually worsens and results in weaker grip strength.
Treatment for Tennis Elbow
Conservative treatment options include resting whilst avoiding the activities which exacerbate the symptoms. Pain relief, ice, anti-inflammatories, physiotherapy and steroid injections are all options.
Newer treatment options that are becoming increasingly popular include Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) injections. This is involves patient’s own blood being taken, spun in a centrifuge to concentrate and separate elements of the whole blood. This is then injected into the tennis elbow tendon. Platelet rich plasma contains lots of concentrated natural growth factors and is thought to work by promoting natural healing
Surgery is reserved for cases that do not respond to any of the less invasive measures.
Surrey Orthopaedic Clinic