Lateral epicondylitis (or Tennis Elbow) is a condition that affects the lateral side of the elbow in many athletes. It is typically the result of overuse. Several factors, including inappropriate racket type and poor technique, can put tennis players at risk of developing Tennis Elbow. However, you do not have to be an athlete to suffer from this painful condition. Several other activities can put you at risk for developing this condition. Patients with Tennis Elbow typically experience pain over the lateral epicondyle and wrist extensor muscle.
Most of the time, lateral epicondylitis will resolve with conservative, non-invasive treatment. Cessation of the activities that caused this injury should be the initial step towards recovery. Rest, regular icing, and anti-inflammatory medicine can help the process. A structured physical therapy program focusing on stretching and strengthening the elbow and forearm muscles can improve the condition. It is safe to return to regular activities or sports when the patient is pain-free, but the individual should ease themselves back into their routines to avoid re-injury.
For those that experience persistent pain and do not respond well to the more conservative treatments, platelet-rich plasma (PRP) and surgery may become viable treatment options. Platelet-rich plasma injections help eradicate the symptoms of Tennis Elbow.
Patients that don't respond to any of the previously mentioned treatments are good candidates for surgery. This procedure can be done through an incision or arthroscopically. The surgery takes about 20 minutes, but the recovery process is slow to prevent overuse of the tendon during healing. The patient will usually be able to return to their sport in 3-4 months.