You don’t have to be an elite sports star to suffer from tennis elbow. Even if you’ve never played a set of tennis, you can still suffer from elbow injuries.
Tennis elbow, also known as lateral epicondylitis, is a condition characterised by pain on the outside of the elbow and forearm.
What causes tennis elbow?
The pain is caused by irritation of the tendon that inserts into the bony prominence on the outside of the elbow. This problem can be caused by a period of heavy gripping and lifting, particularly with the elbow extended (eg, carrying shopping). It can also arise from repetitive irritation of the tendon over time (eg, typing and writing, playing sport).
Symptoms of tennis elbow
Tennis elbow may present with pain on the outside of the elbow which spreads down to the forearm.
The pain will often build up over a period of time and can become so severe that it can be unbearable to even have clothes resting against the painful area. An ultrasound or an MRI scan may be helpful in confirming the diagnosis.
How to treat tennis elbow
While tennis elbow can be persistent and take several months to resolve, almost all cases will resolve with physiotherapy treatment. The physiotherapy treatment is likely to be an exercise programme designed to load the effected tendon in a controlled way to stimulate healing, reduce pain and improve strength.
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) Treatment for tennis elbow
Platelet Rich Plasma (PRP) treatment is currently being used as an alternative treatment method for orthopaedic conditions which have traditionally required surgery or other extensive treatments.
PRP treatment involves a small amount of blood being taken from the patient. The blood is then placed in a centrifuge which spins and separates the platelets from the rest of the blood. The patient’s own platelets are then collected into a highly concentrated formula which is injected directly into the injured area. When platelets become activated, growth factors are released and initiate the body’s natural healing response; tendon regeneration can be achieved by injecting platelet-rich plasma into the degenerative tendon.
Tennis elbow surgery
Surgery is considered only if all other measures have failed. The vast majority of patients will get better with treatments not requiring surgery. Surgery is performed as a daycase and the consultant will discuss the surgical options with you in more detail during your initial consultation
If you think you have tennis elbow or would like further assessment of your condition to see if you would benefit from Platelet Rich Plasma injections, call to make an appointment with one of our upper limb consultant orthopaedic surgeons on 01925 215 029.