Lateral epicondylitis (Tennis Elbow)
What is it : If you are experiencing pain on the outside of your elbow, it could be tennis elbow. Usually your GP will organise an ultrasound or MRI which will confirm that diagnosis. The tendons which move your hand and wrist up attach on the bump on the outside of your elbow. This area is known as the ‘Common Extensor Origin’. These tendons can have small or large tears within them which can cause pain. You may get this condition from an injury or from overuse.
Management : The first thing to usually try for tennis elbow is to rest that side and not perform any heavy tasks or any lifting. Modifying the way you lift or perform certain tasks can also help. Hand therapy has been found to be very successful if adhered to and done properly. This allows you to strengthen the muscles. Occasionally you can have a steroid injection to reduce the inflammation surrounding the tear. If these fail and the pain persists then surgery can be performed to repair the tendon. This can be done through a small cut on the side of your elbow and sometimes even through the telescope.
Post-operative : After the operation you will be able to move your elbow. You will have a sling on for comfort. Once the initial pain settles you can start physiotherapy to slowly gain strength. It can take 3-6 months to see improvement.